International Women’s Day: The Women who built ArtsEd


As ArtsEd celebrate 100 years, we remember the incredible women who have helped build our legacy from 1919 to present day! For International Women’s Day on Sunday 8 March, we’ve created a gallery to highlight the women who make up ArtsEd’s illustrious history, past and present.

Grace Cone & Olive Ripman

The women who started it all! These two extraordinary women shared a deep understanding of the value of combining academic education with specialised training in dance, drama, music and art. Having run their own dance schools, they joined forces in 1939 to create the Cone Ripman School which was renamed the Arts Educational Schools in 1947.

Olive Ripman & Grace Cone

Dame Beryl Gray & Alicia Markova

ArtsEd Principal in the 1950’s, Dame Beryl Gray helped set up the revolutionary company, London Festival Ballet with iconic ballet dancer and ArtsEd President at the time, Alicia Markova. This company was made up of ArtsEd students and later became the English National Ballet. Below is Beryl Gray with the Markova Award in the 1970’s.

Dame Beryl Gray with the Markova Award.

Mrs Marie Jack

As ArtsEd Principal in the 1960’s-70’s, Mrs Jack left an unforgettable legacy. To this day, alumni share stories about their time at ArtsEd with Mrs Jack – a stickler for good manners; she insisted students curtsy every time they walked past her! (perhaps we should bring that back, right ladies?)

Mrs Jack


Eve Pettinger

Much loved ballet teacher from 1960’s-1990’s, Eve is still involved with Tring Park school.

Eve Pettinger

Jackie Bristow

Jackie was a jazz and ballet teacher at ArtsEd for 40 years! Here she is, pictured on the bottom left at a late 80’s reunion!

Jackie Bristow (bottom left) at a late 80’s reunion!

Jane Harrison

The wonderful Jane Harrison was Principal of ArtsEd from 2008-2017. She oversaw many exciting changes and improvements at the school, including the launch of the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation Theatre in 2013!

Jane Harrison


ArtsEd are proud to have so many brilliant women in leadership roles, paving the way for another generation of performers. Let’s shout-out to these ladies:

Jane Morton

Deputy Principal Jane helps run the ArtsEd ship!

Di Stedman

Head of Production, Di has been with us since the 1980’s and is responsible for all of our professionally staged shows here at ArtsEd.

Natalie Bareham

Director of the Performing Arts for Day School and Sixth Form, Natalie has been at ArtsEd for over 20 years!

Claire Parker Wood

Deputy Headteacher for ArtsEd Day School and Sixth Form, Claire also teaches Science (repping women in STEM!)

Julie Spencer

Director of the School of Acting, Julie was cited as one to watch in The Stage 100 2020!

Kim Vithana

Head of Film & TV for the School of Acting, Kim is also active within the industry, and has recently appeared in Netflix drama, The Stranger.

Jill-Louise Hydes

Head of Dance for the School of Musical Theatre, Jill makes sure those feet are always pointed!