LAMDA (London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art)
John Salmon Quilter
- Original design
- John Salmon Quilter, 1894
- Niall McLaughlin Architects, 2003
- Niall McLaughlin Architects, 2017
The 2017 programme is now past. We will be launching the 2018 programme in July.
LAMDA is the oldest drama school in the UK. Founded in 1861 as the London Academy of Music, we were the first such institution to offer acting tuition – defining LAMDA’s ongoing role as a pioneer in its field. Now 154 years old, it started life as the London Academy of Music in 1861, but began offering speech examinations in the 1880s, followed by drama training in the early twentieth century. It was rechristened LAMDA in the 1930s.
155 Talgarth Road, LAMDA has been based in West London since its foundation in 1861. Formerly housed in Earls Court, at Tower House and the neighbouring MacOwan Theatre, by the 21st century LAMDA was in desperate need of increased space and new facilities. In 2003 we moved to 155 Talgarth Road as the first stage in a plan to house all of our facilities on one, integrated campus.155 Talgarth Road has a long history as an educational institution. The central Victorian building was first commissioned by the Froebel Society in the late 19th century as an institute for training primary school teachers. Designed by John Salmon Quilter, a specialist in school architecture, it is considered one of his finest works.
The central building was completed in 1894 and officially opened by Empress Frederick, Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter, the following year. Later in the 1890s, the Froebel Institute expanded to the east of the main Victorian building to provide a home for the Colet Gardens Fee Paying School. In 1922, however, the Froebel Institute moved to its current location at Grove House in Roehampton Lane. After an evacuation to Little Gaddesdon during World War II, the Colet Gardens School followed suit and moved to premises in Roehampton.
From 1947, Talgarth Road was home to the Royal Ballet School. With the whole school housed on the same site, it could combine dance and general education under one roof. During the 1950s and 60s, 155 Talgarth Road was extended into its current form. Buildings providing additional rehearsal studios and office space were added to the east and a new theatre and classrooms were built to the west of the site.
When the Royal Ballet School moved to new, purpose-built premises in Covent Garden in 2003, LAMDA took over 155 Talgarth Road. Initial refurbishment work and customisation of interior spaces was undertaken by Niall McLaughlin Architects and The LAMDA Linbury Studio, a black box studio theatre, opened in 2004, providing LAMDA with a much needed second public performance space.
With significant support from funders, LAMDA next purchased the remaining portion of land at the west end of the Talgarth Road site. This last step enabled us to embark upon initial planning for a major redevelopment of our campus to establish world-class facilities for our students, faculty and the wider community. LAMDA’s new building is designed by multi award-winning Niall McLaughlin Architects, renowned for an innovative and creative approach to education and cultural builds, their practical, cost-efficient and accessible plan makes best use of the long, thin LAMDA site. Our design pays careful consideration to the aesthetics of the new building within the context of the surrounding locality. 155 Talgarth Road sits at the edge of the Barons Court Conservation Area.
Construction began in 2015 on a major redevelopment to create an exceptional training facility, which doubles our teaching space and creates two new performance venues. Designed by Niall McLaughlin Architects, the new building contains the 200-seat Sainsbury Theatre and The Carne Studio Theatre, a second fully equipped, flexible studio theatre seating up to 120. As well as a dedicated screen and audio suite with editing and ADR facilities; 10 large training and rehearsal studios, sound and lighting studios; student changing and other backstage facilities and The Sackler Library & Study Centre.
It provides: a purpose-built training resource for acting, directing, stage management and technical students; a space to host Examinations events; a new cultural focal point for the Hammersmith & Fulham community and a resource for the wider performing arts community. The new building opened to the public in June 2017.
Founded in 1861 as the London Academy of Music, LAMDA was the first such institution to offer acting tuition – defining the Academy’s ongoing role as a pioneer in its field. The school began offering speech examinations in the 1880s, followed by drama training in the early twentieth century; it was rechristened LAMDA in the 1930s.
We are a major contributor to the cultural wealth of the nation, informing and influencing the performing arts sector as a whole. Recruiting on talent alone, we aim to discover and train the most promising acting, directing, stage management and technical students; regardless of social or economic background.
Our drama school alumni include established artists such as Jim Broadbent, Dame Janet Suzman and David Suchet CBE, the new generation of British award-winners including Benedict Cumberbatch, Ruth Wilson, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Luke Treadaway, as well as industry leaders such as Sir Howard Panter. You can see the results of our training at the National Theatre and RSC, in the West End and on Broadway, as well as on the BBC, HBO and in Hollywood.
Last year almost 90,000 candidates took our examinations in over 30 countries, making LAMDA the largest statutory speech and drama awarding body in the UK. Kim Cattrall, Neil Gaiman, Imelda Staunton and many more, began their lifelong appreciation of creativity and the spoken word with our examinations.