Barbara Speake Stage School

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Barbara Speake Stage School
Established 10 February 1945
Type Independent school
Day school
Co-educational school
Religion Not applicable
Principal Barbara Speake
Headteacher David Speake
Founder Barbara Speake
Location East Acton Lane
Acton, London
W3 7EG
England Coordinates: 51°30′44″N 0°15′19″W / 51.51234°N 0.25517°W / 51.51234; -0.25517
Local authority Ealing Council
Gender Co-educational
Ages 4–16
Campus Urban campus

The Barbara Speake Stage School was opened on 10 February 1945 and remains one of the longest established stage schools in the world. It is an independent school, and was initially set up as a dancing school, by the present principal Miss Barbara Speake, MBE,[1] and located in East Acton, London. The school is fee-paying but non-selective in its admissions.[2]

In 1961, June Collins (mother of musician Phil Collins) joined forces with Barbara Speake to become the school's agent. Collins supplied the entertainment industry with children for every major production in the West End, TV and Theatre. Due to the success of both the agency and dancing school in 1963 the decision was made to turn their successes in to a full-time educational establishment for the performing arts. Collins discovered Jack Wild playing football and decided that he was a child with potential, and persuaded his family to let him attend the full-time school. Wild went on to receive an academy award nomination for his portrayal of "the Artful dodger" in "Oliver".[3][4]

Over the years, Collins had an eye for talent, and with Speake, the school has helped to develop some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry, including Phil Collins, child actor, drummer and lead singer of Genesis and solo artist,[4][5] child actor and television presenter Keith Chegwin,[6] actor, singer and presenter Brian Conley,[2] Naomi Campbell, super model,[7] David Parfitt, film producer,[8] actress and singer Michelle Gayle,[9] Mark Summers, casting director,[10] and actor and playwright Kwame Kwei-Armah.[11][12]

One of its founders, Barbara Speake, went on to receive an MBE from Queen Elizabeth II in the New Years Honours list of 2007, for her services to the arts. Collins died on her 98th birthday on 6 November 2011.

The School currently has 125 pupils aged 3 1/2 to 16 and is the only stage school providing a "Stage School" Nursery, allowing the children to grow in confidence and self-esteem via the arts.

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ a b Elkin, Susan (7 February 2005). "Speake up for drama – Barbara Speake". The Stage. Retrieved 29 June 2014. 
  3. ^ "Wichita Eagle: Search Results". Retrieved 7 November 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "Jack Wild". Telegraph.co.uk. 3 March 2006. Retrieved 7 November 2014. 
  5. ^ "Barbara Speake Stage School & Agency". Retrieved 7 November 2014. 
  6. ^ Millar, Paul (20 November 2011). "Keith Chegwin: 'Phil Collins let me sing his first song'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 15 June 2014. 
  7. ^ "Naomi Campbell". Vogue. Retrieved 7 November 2014. 
  8. ^ "David Parfitt". IMDb. Retrieved 7 November 2014. 
  9. ^ "Michelle Gayle". MTV Artists. Retrieved 7 November 2014. 
  10. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/movelikemichaeljackson/about/marksummers.shtml
  11. ^ "Kwame Kwei-Armah". IMDb. Retrieved 7 November 2014. 
  12. ^ "Queen's birthday honours list 2012: OBE". the Guardian. Retrieved 7 November 2014. 

External links[edit]