Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (May 2011)|
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|Founder||Italia Emily Stella Conti|
|Location||Italia Conti House
The Italia Conti Academy is a co-educational independent school for pupils aged from 10 - 19 years, and a theatre arts training school, based in London. It was founded in 1911 by actress Italia Conti (Italia Emily Stella Conti, 1873–1946). The Academy promotes multi-skilled training, believing the more opportunities offered to students, the wider the choice of options in the work place.
The Academy grew out of the first production of the play Where the Rainbow Ends. Italia Conti, who was already an established actress and had a reputation for her success working with young people, was asked to take over the job of training the cast. The play was a triumph and the school was born in basement studios in London’s Great Portland Street.
The Academy's principle has always been to provide a thorough education and training. Staff of professional experts give students that enter the profession with the necessary professional skills, having also been encouraged to develop their social talents and to evolve a set of standards essential for personal and professional fulfilment.
BA (Hons) Acting
The Acting Course consists of 3 years of full time professional training, available to students 18+. It is based in Italia Conti's Avondale Building in Clapham. The course is run by Chris White who has brought in many notable staff and directors such as Kate Williams, Karen Henthorn, Dugald Bruce-Lockhart, Aoife Smyth, Hannah Kaye, Samuel Oatley, Dominic Colenso, Rae McKen and Richard Baron. The 3 year course is University accredited and students graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Acting. Much of the work on the course is dedicated to vocal and physical training, and to the exploration of a range of techniques for creating and developing character, and for working flexibly and responsively in the space. Part of the course teaches students to be original and individual in their work, to reinvent old techniques and develop new ones. The course tries to make available the widest possible range of ideas, and training methods, so that each student may construct a personal way of working, which will continue to develop throughout their life. The course also aims to produce flexible performers who can work in as wide a range of styles or media as possible. Having said that, the course does have underlying theories of training and performance, as well as clear philosophies about the roles of drama in society, which permeate the teaching.
Performing Arts Course
The Performing Arts Course is a 3 year full time course available to students 16+ which takes place at Italia Conti House and is accredited by the C.D.E.T (Council for Dance Education and Training). It is designed for students who require an all round training in performing arts. The course aims to produce confident, artistic and multi-skilled performers who are equipped to deal with the fast paced industry. Emphasis is on training in the three main art forms; acting, singing and dancing.
The intensive Course is a full time one year course for students 16+ and takes place at Italia Conti House. The course is designed to demonstrate the main areas in performing arts and, similarly to the diploma course, this course focuses on the three core skills of singing, acting and dancing. It can be useful for preparation for longer term training in performing arts or for those with pre-existing skills to add a professional edge such as post-graduate students who wish to add technical or performance skills to their theoretical knowledge or gap year students who wish to experience performing arts training before making a definite decision as to which further training path they wish to take. This course works closely with students on the Performing Arts 3 year diploma course and therefore they share many learning and performance experiences together. The course aims to develop technical skills, artistic interpretation and a sense of performance. Students who successfully complete the course graduate with the Academy Diploma. Students who achieve the necessary skills are also given the opportunity throughout the course to take external examinations in theatre disciplines which are recognised by outside boards.
Performing Arts with Dance Teacher Training Course
The Performing Arts with Dance Teacher Training is a 3 year full time course for students aged 16+ and takes place at the Italia Conti Arts Centre. This course is designed to train students to become performers and dance teachers by providing performing arts training and dance teaching qualifications. With the introduction of the I.S.T.D (Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing) qualifications in 2006, the Academy felt it relevant to provide students with the opportunity to take these examinations. The course follows the same path as the Performing Arts Course but also encourporates the teacher training by offering the FDI (Foundation in Dance Instruction) qualifications in Classical Ballet, Tap and Modern. This allows students to become qualified dance teachers to teach up to grade 5 in the I.S.T.D syllabus. Aspects of this course include:
Dance, Acting, Singing, Contextual Studies and Additional Content such as I.S.T.D examinations, PGCE work, latin dance, music, performance, pilates, presentation and professional skills, stage combat, video production and theatre in education production.
Buildings and facilities
The Academy is constantly growing and has expanded to three different sites to accommodate the variety of courses they offer:
Italia Conti House
The main centre 'Italia Conti House', commonly referred to as 'mainschool', is based in Goswell Road, Barbican, London and is home to the Performing Arts Course, Intensive Performing Arts Course, Singing Course and Theatre Arts School. The building covers nine levels and has 18 dance, acting and singing studios, all fully equipped with sprung floors, full length mirrors, ballet barres and sound systems. Italia Conti House also offers lecture rooms, academic school rooms, specialist classrooms, an art room, a video studio and editing suite, an IT suite, a resource library, first aid and treatment room, dressing room, student common room and a canteen.
The BA (Hons) Acting Course takes place in the 'Avondale' building, in Clapham, London. The impressive Edwardian building was the home of all courses before the Academy moved to Goswell Road and now hosts the acting courses. The building features the Avondale Theatre, which can be adapted for a variety of productions and seats an audience of up to 152. The theatre has fully retractable seating which can be moved to offer one of London's largest rehearsal spaces. In addition, the Avondale building also have use of the Sheridan Studio Theatre, three acting and movement studios, a fully equipped recording studio, a sound studio, a TV edit studio, green room, IT facilities, a library, property store rooms, dressing rooms and student social spaces.
Italia Conti Arts Centre
The 'Italia Conti Arts Centre' is situated in Guildford and houses the Performing Arts with Dance Teacher Training Course, as well as part time associate courses. The Arts Centre is modern and well equipped with 7 spacious, air conditioned studios with sprung floor and mirrors.. Other facilities at the Arts Centre include a dancewear shop, a recording and video studio with editing suite, A class room, lounge and cafeteria area, student common rooms and changing rooms. In addition, the centre is also able to offer a limited number of flats for first year student accommodation which are situated above the Arts Centre itself.
Listed below are the locations of many associate school branches which take place around the country and provide courses in part time performing arts training:
- Italia Conti Associates London at Italia Conti House, Barbican, London
- Italia Conti Associates Clapham at Avondale, Clapham, London
- Italia Conti Associates Guildford at Italia Conti Arts Centre, Guildford, Surrey
- Italia Conti Associates Chislehurst at Coopers Technology College, Chislehurst, Kent
- Italia Conti Associates Plymouth at Lipson Community College, Plymouth, Devon
- Italia Conti Associates Coulsdon at Coulsdon College, Old Coulsdon, Surrey
- Italia Conti Associates Newbury at St Gabriels School, Newbury, Berkshire
- Italia Conti Associates Wokingham at St Crispin's School, Wokingham, Berkshire
- Italia Conti Associates Wimbledon at Wimbledon Community Centre, London
- Italia Conti Associates Reigate at Reigate School, Reigate, Surrey
- Italia Conti Associates Tunbridge Wells at the Skinners School, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent
- Italia Conti Associates Brighton & Hove at Ralli Hall, Hove, East Sussex
- Italia Conti Associates Redbridge at Caterham High School, Redbridge, Greater London