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ArtsEd Acting student receives Laurence Olivier Bursary 2023

Posted on: July 4th, 2023 by Neil Roig

ArtsEd BA Acting student, Jake Evans has been awarded a financial bursary to help him complete his training, having successfully auditioned for a panel of theatre industry professionals. The Society of London Theatre (SOLT) awarded a total of £79,000 in Laurence Olivier Bursaries for 2023 to 17 deserving students from drama schools across the UK, and Jake is among the deserving recipients.

Recognising Exceptional Talent
The Laurence Olivier Bursaries were established by SOLT in 1987 on the occasion of Laurence Olivier’s 80th birthday. These bursaries aim to provide vital financial assistance to exceptional students who are entering their final year of drama school and may face financial challenges that could jeopardise their studies. This year, the bursaries have been awarded to 17 talented students from drama schools across the UK, further emphasising the significance of this achievement.

A History of Success
Esteemed actors such as Denise Gough, Bryony Hannah, Paterson Joseph, Ewan McGregor, Daniel Rigby, Vinette Robinson, Juma Sharkah, Michaela Coel, and Michael Sheen have all been recipients of the Laurence Olivier Bursary. This legacy highlights the recognition and support that this prestigious award brings to emerging talents.

The Audition Process
Nominees for the Laurence Olivier Bursary are put forward by drama schools across the UK. These aspiring actors are then auditioned on a West End stage and interviewed by a panel of distinguished theatre industry professionals. This year, the auditions took place at St Martin’s Theatre, creating a unique opportunity for students to showcase their skills and potential in a professional setting.

Well done Jake! We’re immensely proud and look forward to seeing you light up stage and screen in your third, and final, year of training with us.

Prime Minister of the Bahamas visits ArtsEd

Posted on: May 31st, 2023 by Neil Roig

In an exciting turn of events, Prime Minister Philip Davis of the Bahamas paid a momentous visit to ArtsEd as part of his delegation’s trip to London for the coronation of King Charles.

The prime minister’s connection with ArtsEd was facilitated by Ian Poitier, a director and government advisor for the Bahamas in the field of arts. Poitier, who directed ArtsEd’s Principal, Dr. Julie Spencer, in the 2007 film “Oh Happy Days,” played a pivotal role in arranging the meeting. It is worth highlighting that Poitier himself is an esteemed alumnus of ArtsEd, having graduated in 1988 as the first black student admitted to the Musical Theatre course.

During his visit, Prime Minister Davis embarked on a comprehensive tour of ArtsEd’s state-of-the-art facilities, immersing himself in the institution’s creative environment and even attending some degree-level lessons. This first-hand experience provided him with valuable insight into the rigorous training and artistic excellence offered at ArtsEd.

Joining the prime minister on this inspiring tour was Miriam-Teak Lee, a highly regarded ArtsEd alumna and recipient of the prestigious Olivier Award. Lee, renowned for her exceptional talent and accomplishments in the performing arts industry, graciously shared her personal experiences as a former ArtsEd student. Her presence further underscored the significant contributions the school makes in nurturing and shaping artistic talent.

Expressing her gratitude for Prime Minister Davis’s visit, Dr. Julie Spencer, Principal of ArtsEd, stated, “We are deeply honoured to host Prime Minister Philip Davis and his esteemed team at ArtsEd. Our institution has always championed the power of collaboration and cultural exchange, and we eagerly look forward to exploring potential partnerships with the Bahamas.”

The discussions throughout the visit centred around fostering cultural exchanges, nurturing talent, and embracing diversity. The visit served as a powerful reminder of the profound impact that the arts can have in uniting people and creating a more vibrant and interconnected world. ArtsEd remains committed to its mission of cultivating creativity and providing a platform for artistic expression that transcends borders.


Photo: Disha Fraser

ArtsEd students at the Olivier Awards 2023

Posted on: April 4th, 2023 by Neil Roig

ArtsEd made an elegant return to the  annual Olivier Awards on Sunday night at the Royal Albert Hall, when our graduating BA Musical Theatre students performed alongside Shanay Holmes during the In Memoriam section of the ceremony. The choir accompanied Shanay in a spotless performance of Jonathan Larson’s Seasons of Love; a moving tribute to shining lights of the industry who have passed away in the last twelve months.

Taking part in such a prestigious ceremony was a wonderful experience for the students who were thrilled to be a part of such a moving moment in the event.

Performing as a year group at the Olivier Awards was an absolute joy and an honour. It was such a fantastic, inspiring experience and an incredible way to round off the best three years of training!
Eleanor Peach, BA Musical Theatre ’23

If you missed the live performance, you can still catch up below. As the students move on to the next phase of their careers, this performance serves as a reminder of the bright futures that surely await them. You can also visit the official Olivier Awards website to see the full list of the evening’s winners and other highlights from the ceremony.

Photo: Christie Goodwin

A Drama School First – British Sign Language at ArtsEd

Posted on: March 13th, 2023 by Neil Roig

As part of Sign Language Week, ArtsEd are delighted to celebrate the fact that they are the first UK drama school to embed British Sign Language into the curriculum.

ArtsEd’s student cohort is notably diverse with a curriculum that reflects the richness of cultural references and experiences of the students, as well as a focus on the ever-evolving developments in the creative industries.

ArtsEd Principal, Dr Julie Spencer says:

As the sector works to develop its inclusion of the deaf and hard of hearing community both on and off stage, ArtsEd is equipping students with communication skills that will help to support this integration in the long-term.  Expanding the BA Acting curriculum to include BSL was a natural step in the ongoing development of a course that is both contemporary and inclusive.

BSL is integrated into the first year of the BA Acting degree, with a first term module developed in collaboration with Rupal Chandi, a leading BSL tutor, with in-depth experience of working with performers and as a Deaf Consultant for theatre.

In their first term, students have weekly classes with Rupal, exploring the use of visual communication with the support of BSL. Using facial expression, body language, placement and fingerspelling. This insight into communication beyond voice encourages students to explore the physicality of language in other areas of curriculum.

1st Year BA Acting student Saphira Wing says:-

Learning BSL with Rupal has really helped me to progress as a performer, particularly implementing what we’ve learnt into our project work.  Not only has it allowed my performances and learning to be more dynamic and positively challenging, it has also highlighted the importance of inclusive practice in the performing arts, to me and to the rest of my cohort.  Working with Rupal has highlighted the multifaceted nature of communication and I hope prepared us to be part of the change that will make the industry more facilitating and accessible to everyone.

The success of the pilot project in September 2021 has led to BSL being embedded further, and it is now included in the contemporary physical theatre and verbatim theatre modules  in the second term. Students work with Rupal and external directors, blending BSL into their performances.  Rupal says:-

Working with Arts Ed so far has been an amazing challenge, we are constantly changing and developing how we incorporate BSL into the students learning and projects. I enjoy supporting them in exploring the benefits of BSL being used within their performances.

Find out more about ArtsEd’s Acting courses here

A Singularly Sensational Evening: Original British Cast Surprises Third-Year Students at their Performance of A Chorus Line

Posted on: February 13th, 2023 by Neil Roig

The magic of theatre was alive and well on Friday, February 10th, as 9 cast members from the original West End production of “A Chorus Line” made a surprise appearance at the evening performance. The students, who are in their third and final year, were left speechless and in awe of the legendary cast members, who shared their experiences and provided a valuable learning opportunity for the aspiring performers.

The musical, “A Chorus Line,” first opened its doors in the West End at the historic Theatre Royal Drury Lane in 1976, and it quickly became a hit, running for three years and winning the Laurence Olivier Award as Best Musical of the Year in 1976, the first year the awards were presented. The original British cast took over the production in 1977.

The surprise appearance by the cast members provided a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the students, who had the chance to meet and interact with the legends themselves. The cast shared their experiences and offered advice to the students, who were eager to absorb every bit of knowledge they could from the seasoned performers.

The appearance of the cast members was a testament to the lasting impact that “A Chorus Line” has had on the world of musical theatre. The musical has been performed all over the world, and it continues to be a beloved show, inspiring new generations of performers.

Thank you to our trustee, and original cast member, Cherry Dickins, for making this happen.

The Stage Debut Awards – Double nomination for ArtsEd BA Acting Alumni

Posted on: August 19th, 2022 by Neil Roig

We are delighted to announce that two of eight nominations in The Stage Debut awards have gone to recent alumni of ArtsEd’s BA (Hons) Acting course.

Samuel Creasey (2020) has been nominated for his “ hugely endearing performance” as Malcolm, the lead role in Philip Pullman’s THE BOOK OF DUST at the Bridge Theatre.

Michael Workeye (2019) has been nominated for his “scene-stealing turn as younger brother and aspiring grime artist Yosi, full of swagger and surliness” in THE HOUSE OF IFE at The Bush Theatre.

The Stage Debut awards, in association with ATG, recognise breakthrough theatre talent and categories include emerging writers, designers, directors and composers, as well as performers.

The Stage editor Alistair Smith said:

“Judging these awards has, as ever, been a complete joy. We have a wonderful set of nominees. They reflect the artistic flair, skill and diversity of the next generation of theatrical talent who will ensure that British theatre thrives in the years to come. We can’t wait to celebrate their achievements next month.”

Mark Cornell, chief executive officer of ATG, said:

“ATG is thrilled to be supporting British theatre’s emerging talent through The Stage Debut Awards. At ATG we know that people are at the heart of successful theatre and that new ideas and voices are essential to bringing great live experiences to new audiences. We look forward to being part of an exceptional night celebrating professional debuts at these awards.”

Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on September 18 2022.

You can read the full list of nominees here.

ArtsEd Sixth Form Celebrates Excellent Results

Posted on: August 18th, 2022 by Neil Roig

We are proud to announce a superb crop of BTEC and A Level results secured by our sixth formers this year. 

We have been delighted to welcome back friends and family this year to see students showcase their talents in a full schedule of productions, both in-house and beyond, including at the Lyric Hammersmith and the Pleasance. Our school Prize Giving Ceremony in July at the Cambridge Theatre was a particular highlight for the Sixth Formers. Enjoying a full year of face-to-face academic studies has also been a pleasure for students and staff alike.

Students enjoyed success in both BTEC and A-Levels:



Combined: (including BTEC equivalent UCAS points)

Mark Ferrington, Director of Sixth Form said

After a tough few years, I am thrilled to see that dedication and hard work of our young people has paid off with a fantastic set of results. We hope that the students are as proud of their achievements as we are!

Lizzie Bellamy, Head of BTEC, had the following message for students:

Congratulations to our Year 13 students. You should be proud of what you have each achieved. You have shown great strength and vigour throughout the past two years. I hope you can all look back on your journey with us with pride, knowing that you can overcome any challenge if you put your mind to it. We look forward to hearing of your future successes. Keep motivated, open, and share your creative voice.

If you are interested in learning more about life at ArtsEd Day School and Sixth Form, why not join us at our upcoming Open Evenings this September!   Register today and share the link with others who might be interested.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

ArtsEd Students receive the Ian Fleming Award for Musical Theatre

Posted on: August 4th, 2022 by Neil Roig

ArtsEd School of Musical Theatre students, Marley Fenton, Olivia Hewitt-Jones and Caroline Featherstone have received funding to help them complete their training.

In 1980, the Ian Fleming Charitable Trust Music Education Awards were established in partnership with Help Musicians. Outstandingly talented individual young musicians have been supported through Ian’s trust every year since, with costs towards their higher education studies.

Students, about to start their final year, and studying Musical Theatre can apply for financial support of up to £5,000 towards study and living costs for the next academic year.  

We are thrilled to announce that students Marley Fenton, Olivia Hewitt-Jones and Caroline Featherstone have been successful in their applications, and after their auditions and interviews, they have been awarded this year’s Ian Fleming Award for Musical Theatre.

Well done all! We’re immensely proud and look forward to seeing you grow as performers in your third, and final, year of training with us.

ArtsEd appoints Brian Brodie as Chair of the Board of Trustees

Posted on: July 13th, 2022 by Neil Roig

ArtsEd is delighted to welcome Brian Brodie as their new Chair of Trustees. 

Brian joins ArtsEd at an exciting time for the organisation, with a new senior leadership team in place, strong 2022/23 cohorts recruited across the degree courses and the independent Day School & Sixth Form and a recently extended and refurbished building.  

Brian is currently Chief Executive Officer of Finance Freedom. He has had a wide and varied career in financial Services and a deep love of dance stemming from the passion his three daughters have for the art form. The many hours spent at dance school with them exposed Brian to ballet, tap, modern and contemporary dance and he saw first-hand, the positive impact of the performing arts, on both a personal and a social level. He has since supported his youngest daughter through her degree at London Studio Centre.  

With a strong desire to see the arts flourish, as well as a personal desire for schools to hear a parent’s voice, Brian joined the board of the Royal Academy of Dance. During his time on the board the RAD changed their syllabus and agreed a deal to move to a new purpose-built home in Battersea. After leaving RAD, Brian chaired the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in Leeds, steering them through their exit from the Conservatoire of Dance and Drama and setting them on the path to becoming an HEI in their own right. 

His combination of business expertise and Board experience equip Brian perfectly to support ArtsEd as it continues to develop its provision of world-leading vocational training. 

On his appointment, Brian said: 

“I am delighted to be joining ArtsEd and look forward to working with the team to deliver an exceptional learning experience for all.” 

ArtsEd Principal, Dr Julie Spencer, said: 

I am thrilled that the Board have appointed Brian Brodie as the new Chair. Brian’s wealth of business experience and ambition, alongside his innovative ideas will ensure the continued development of ArtsEd as a provider of uniquely inclusive, contemporary, and world-leading vocational training.” 

ArtsEd Acting students receive Laurence Olivier Bursaries

Posted on: July 1st, 2022 by Neil Roig

ArtsEd School of Acting students, Daniel Apea and Eliza Parry Williams have been awarded financial bursaries to help them complete their training, having successfully auditioned for and been interviewed by a panel of theatre professionals.

A total of £77,500 in Laurence Olivier Bursaries for 2022 is to be received by talented students from 19 drama schools across the UK, awarded by the Society of London Theatre (SOLT).

We are thrilled that Daniel has been given the top award, The Sir Peter and Lady Saunders Laurence Olivier Bursary, which is donated by the Estate of Sir Peter and Lady Saunders.

Eliza is among the recipients of the Laurence Olivier Bursary, donated by SOLT.

Established by SOLT in 1987 to mark Laurence Olivier’s 80th birthday, the Laurence Olivier Bursaries provide financial support to exceptional students entering their final year of drama school, and facing financial difficulties which might jeopardise their studies.

Previous bursary winners have included Denise Gough, Bryony Hannah, Paterson Joseph, Ewan McGregor, Daniel Rigby, Vinette Robinson, Juma Sharkah, Michaela Coel and Michael Sheen.

Nominees, put forward by drama school principals across the UK, are auditioned on a West End stage and interviewed by a panel of theatre industry professionals, led by West End producer and Chair of the Laurence Olivier Bursaries Committee, Lee Menzies. This year’s auditions took place at St Martin’s Theatre earlier this month.

Well done both of you! We’re immensely proud and look forward to seeing you light up stage and screen in your third, and final, year of training with us.