Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts

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Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts
Italia Conti Academy Logo.jpg
Established 1911
Type Independent school
Founder Italia Emily Stella Conti
Location Italia Conti House
Goswell Road

United Kingdom
DfE URN 100461 Tables
Gender Coeducational
Ages 9–21+
Website Official Website

The Italia Conti Academy is a co-educational independent school for pupils aged from 10 to 19 years,[1] and a theatre arts training school, based in London, England. It was founded in 1911 by the actress Italia Conti.[2]

The academy grew out of the first production of the play Where the Rainbow Ends. Italia Conti, an established actress with 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 academy was born in the basement studios in London’s Great Portland Street.

The academy then moved to a church building in Conduit Street, however during World War II, the academy was bombed, destroying all early records. In 1972, the academy relocated to a building in Landor Road, Clapham. It was the home to all full-time Italia Conti pupils for 9 years.

In 1981, the academy grew and developed so much that it had to expand to Goswell Road in the City of London where the Junior and Musical Theatre courses are run. The BA Acting course is still based at the site in Clapham.


BA (Hons) Acting[edit]

The Acting course consists of three years of full-time professional training, offered to students from the age of 18. It is based in Italia Conti's Avondale Building in Clapham. The course is run by Chris White, with staff and directors including Kate Williams, Paulette Randall, Karen Henthorn, Dugald Bruce-Lockhart, Lawrence Evans, John Gillett and Anna Jordan. The three-year course is accredited by The University of East London and students graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Acting.

Its graduates populate the performance industries and it is this commercial edge that makes the BA (Hons) Acting programme unique. It is one of the country’s leading vocational actors training courses, with an emphasis on professional development and employability. The academy believes that acting is not just an art form but also a craft, and our students leave the course equipped with the skills necessary to take up meaningful roles within the profession.

Much of the work on the course is vocational, dedicated to vocal and physical training, the exploration of techniques for creating and developing character, and 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 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[edit]

The Performing Arts course is a three-year full-time course for students from the age of 16; it takes place at Italia Conti House and Italia Conti Arts Centre which is accredited by the CDET (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, the emphasis is on training in the three main art forms; acting, singing and dancing.

Intensive course[edit]

The Intensive course is a full-time one-year course for students from the age of 16 and takes place at Italia Conti House. The course, similarly to the diploma course, focuses on the 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 decision as to which training path they wish to take.

The course works with students on the Performing Arts three-year diploma course, and therefore they share many learning and performance experiences together. The course develops 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[edit]

The Performing Arts with Dance Teacher Training is a three-year full-time course for students from the age of 16 and takes place at the Italia Conti Arts Centre. The course trains students to become performers and dance teachers by providing performing arts training and dance teaching qualifications. With the introduction of the ISTD (Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing) qualifications in 2006, the academy provided students with the opportunity to take these examinations. The course follows the same path as the Performing Arts Course but also incorporates 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 ISTD syllabus. Aspects of the course include Dance, Acting, Singing, Contextual Studies and Additional Content such as ISTD examinations, PGCE work, latin dance, music, performance, pilates, presentation and professional skills, stage combat, video production and theatre in education production.

Buildings and facilities[edit]

The academy has three sites:

Italia Conti House[edit]

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, equipped with sprung floors, full length mirrors, ballet barres and sound systems. Italia Conti House has 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; it 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 retractable seating which can be moved to offer one of London's largest rehearsal spaces. In addition, the Avondale building also has use of the Sheridan Studio Theatre, six 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[edit]

The 'Italia Conti Arts Centre' is in Guildford and houses the Performing Arts with Dance Teacher Training Course, as well as part-time associate courses. The Arts Centre has seven air conditioned studios with sprung floor and mirrors. Other facilities at the Arts Centre include a dance wear 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.

Associate schools[edit]

Listed below are the locations of 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, London
  • Italia Conti Associates Plymouth at Lipson Co-operative Academy, Plymouth, Devon
  • Italia Conti Associates Coulsdon at Coulsdon College, Old Coulsdon, Surrey
  • Italia Conti Associates Newbury at St Gabriel's 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 Hull at Sirius Academy West, Hull, East Yorkshire

School For Stars[edit]

Italia Conti is the school featured in CBBC documentary School For Stars, which features friend fallouts, GCSE exams, tests, the school prom and End of Year School Performance. Each series followed a set of students during the school term. School For Stars first aired in 2011 and a third series began on 2 September 2013.

The show is narrated by Reggie Yates.


In literature[edit]

The Italia Conti Academy is the inspiration for the drama school in At Freddie's, a novel by Penelope Fitzgerald, who taught at the academy in the 1960s.[3]


  1. ^ Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts Publisher: The Good Schools Guide. Retrieved: 6 June 2013.
  2. ^ "History and Background". Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts. Archived from the original on 2010-07-09. Retrieved 2009-06-01. 
  3. ^ "The Peripatetic Penelope Fitzgerald". Granta Magazine. 2017-07-31. Retrieved 2017-09-20. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°31′20″N 0°05′52″W / 51.52222°N 0.09778°W / 51.52222; -0.09778