London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art

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London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art
Gower Street entrance
The main entrance to LAMDA
Established 1861
Type Drama school
Chancellor Timothy West
Principal Joanna Read
Location London, England
Affiliations Conservatoire of Dance and Drama
Website Official website

The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) is a drama school situated in the west of London, United Kingdom. LAMDA is the oldest drama school in the UK.

LAMDA's president is Timothy West and its Principal is Joanna Read (who succeeded Peter James in 2010).[1] In recent years, over 98% of LAMDA's stage management and technical theatre graduates have found work in their chosen field within weeks of graduation and the Academy's graduates work regularly at the Royal National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, Shakespeare's Globe, London's West End and Hollywood as well as on the BBC, HBO and Broadway. It is registered as a company under the name LAMDA Ltd[2] and as a charity under its trading name London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.[3] There is an associate organisation in America under the name LAMDA in America, Inc., previously known as The American Friends of LAMDA.[4]

LAMDA examinations in the fields of speech, drama, communication and performance taken by external students are recognised by Ofqual, the regulator in England and its counterparts in Wales and Northern Ireland. LAMDA accredited examinations at Level 3 or above are recognised within the UCAS Tariff system.

As an affiliate of the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama, LAMDA receives funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). This means that eligible UK/EU students are able to access loans to assist with their tuition fees and maintenance costs. In addition, LAMDA and the Conservatoire have a range of scholarships and bursaries available.


The London Academy of Music was founded by Henry Wylde in 1861;[5] this makes the Academy the oldest of its kind in Britain. Providing training for, and examinations in, various musical disciplines was originally the dominant purpose of the institution. However, providing instruction in spoken English quickly became a core area of the Academy’s work.

In the 1880s, LAMDA began offering speech examinations to the public. Since then, these examinations have been refined and developed into a comprehensive system of performance evaluation. LAMDA Examinations has emerged as the largest Speech and Drama Board in the United Kingdom.

In 1904, the school was amalgamated with several other London music institutions that had sprung up since the academy was founded, namely the London Music School (founded 1865), the Forest Gate College of Music (founded 1885), and the Metropolitan College of Music (founded 1889). Later the Hampstead Academy was also amalgamated. The name was changed to the current name in 1935, under the direction of Wilfrid Foulis. In 1939, it was moved from London due to the war; when it reopened in 1945, it no longer provided musical training.[5]

The past few years have witnessed important growth for the Academy. A move to a larger and more visible home on the Talgarth Road in West London has enabled LAMDA to further develop the campus and training facilities for its students. Furthermore, in June 2004, the Academy became an affiliate of the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama.


LAMDA regularly presents productions at the Lyric Hammersmith, Riverside Studios and the Linbury Studio Theatre. Tickets are normally free, but donations are encouraged.[6]

Boards & Honorary Fellows

Board of Trustees

  • President: Timothy West CBE FRSA
  • Vice-President: Dame Janet Suzman DBE
  • Chairman: Luke Rittner
  • Vice-Chairman: Harold Sanditen
  • Other Board members: Hugh Bullock, James Cane, Philip Carne, Kay Ellen Consolver, Kevin Fitzmaurice, Paul Gismondi, Anthony Gordon-Lennox, Patricia Hodge, Paterson Joseph, Victoria Legge-Bourke LVO, Timothy Oakley, Mark Schnebli, Sue Stapely, Richard Szpiro, Thomas Vaughan.

Advisory Council

Honorary Fellows

  • Norman Ayrton
  • Eileen Collins LLAM (Hons)
  • Colin Cook FRSA
  • Zoë Dominic OBE
  • The Rev. Michael Forrest
  • Brian Tilston LLAM (Hons) FLAM

Notable alumni


  1. "LAMDA Appoints a New Principal"
  2. Lamda Ltd,
  3. London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art,
  4. LAMDA in America, Inc., LAMDA website.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Bernarr Rainbow and Anthony Kemp. "London (i), §VIII: Educational institutions, 3. Conservatories". In Macy, Laura (ed.). Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> (subscription required)
  6. "Welcome to LAMDA's Summer Season". LAMDA website. LAMDA. Retrieved 7 June 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

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