Italia Conti

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Italia Emily Stella Conti (1873–1946) was an English actress and the founder of the Italia Conti drama school in London.[1]


She was born in London, the daughter of Luigi Conti, a singer, and his wife Emily Mary Castle. The family then moved to Brighton, and Luigi Conti died in 1884.[1] Italia was educated in Haywards Heath and at Kensington Academy.[2]

Conti wrote to Ellen Terry, who arranged acting lessons for her. Her debut as an actress was a small part in The Last Word at the Lyceum Theatre, London.[1]

The academy was founded in London in 1911 when Charles Hawtrey asked Italia Conti to train some children, to act in Where the Rainbow Ends. In 1925 it moved to Lamb's Conduit Street. Bombing in May 1940 destroyed the building, and Italia faced a serious financial loss. The school revived, however, at the Tavistock Little Theatre in Bloomsbury.[1][2]

Italia Conti died unmarried at Evelyn Cottage, Southbourne, Dorset on 8 February 1946.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e McConnell, Anita. "Conti, Italia Emily Stella". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/62121.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. ^ a b Cathy Hartley (15 April 2013). A Historical Dictionary of British Women. Routledge. p. 236. ISBN 978-1-135-35534-0.