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
TypeDrama school
Established1861; 160 years ago (1861)
ChancellorBenedict Cumberbatch
DirectorSarah Frankcom
Location Edit this at Wikidata
London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art logo.svg

The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) is a drama school located in Hammersmith, London. It is the oldest specialist drama school in the British Isles and a founding member of the Federation of Drama Schools.[1]

LAMDA's Director is Sarah Frankcom, who succeeded the Principal Joanna Read in 2019.[2][3] Benedict Cumberbatch succeeded Timothy West as President of LAMDA's Board of Trustees in 2018.[4]

The Academy's graduates work regularly at the Royal National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, Shakespeare's Globe, and the theatres of 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[5] and as a charity under its trading name London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.[6] There is an associate organisation in America under the name of American Friends of LAMDA (AFLAMDA).[7][8] A very high proportion of LAMDA's stage management and technical theatre graduates find work in their chosen field within weeks of graduation. As of April 2021, LAMDA alumni have won 5 Academy Awards (with 8 additional Oscar nominations), 8 SAG Awards, 12 Tonys, 15 Emmys, 19 Golden Globes, 21 BAFTAs, and 38 Olivier Awards.[9][10][11][12]

LAMDA Examinations in the fields of speech, drama, communication, and performance are taken by external students and 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.


The London Academy of Music was founded by Henry Wylde in 1861;[13] this makes the Academy the oldest of its kind in Britain[citation needed], after - for example - the Royal Academy of Music (1822) and the Crystal Palace School of Art, Science, and Literature (1854). 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 two other London music institutions that had sprung up since the academy was founded, namely the London Music School (founded 1865) and the Forest Gate School of Music (founded 1885) renamed in 1906 the Metropolitan Academy of Music. (The Metropolitan Academy of Music severed its links with the London Academy of Music in 1907.[14]) In due course 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.[13]

LAMDA was previously an associate member of the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama, having joined in 2004, and received funding through the Conservatoire from the Office for Students. It left the Conservatoire on 31 July 2019 to become an independent institution, and now receives funding directly from the Office for Students and Research England.[15][16]


The LAMDA building on Talgarth Road

In 2003, LAMDA decided to move its teaching school and theatre to its current location in Hammersmith in West London. It acquired the old premises of the Royal Ballet School on Talgarth Road.

The move to the Talgarth Road enabled LAMDA to develop a campus with new training facilities designed by Niall McLaughlin Architects.[17] The site was previously home to the Royal Ballet School, which moved to new, purpose-built facilities adjacent to the Royal Opera House.

The LAMDA complex has three theatres and various rehearsal spaces and meeting rooms. The three theatres are the Sainsbury Theatre, the Carne Studio Theatre and the Linbury Studio.[18]

Boards and Honorary Fellows[edit]

Board of Trustees[19][edit]

  • President: Benedict Cumberbatch
  • Vice-President: Dame Janet Suzman
  • Chairman: Shaun Woodward
  • Vice Chair: Tom Chandos, Sarah Habberfield
  • Other Board members: Shamez Alibhai, Matt Applewhite, Olga Basirov, Mark Cornell, Mohammad Dastbaz, Joanne Hirst, Patricia Hodge, Thomas Laing-Baker, April McMahon, John Owen, Carole-Anne Upton, Helen Wright

Honorary Fellows[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ Granger, Rachel. "Rapid Scoping Study on Leicester Drama School" (PDF). De Montfort University Leicester. Retrieved 7 September 2019.
  2. ^ "Sarah Frankcom to step down as artistic director of Manchester's Royal Exchange Theatre | WhatsOnStage". Retrieved 2019-10-14.
  3. ^ "Press Office" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-05-14. Retrieved 2018-10-25.
  4. ^ "Benedict Cumberbatch becomes president of Lamda drama school". BBC. 16 January 2018. Archived from the original on 2018-03-08. Retrieved 8 March 2018.
  5. ^ "Lamda Ltd". Archived from the original on 2017-11-07. Retrieved 2018-10-25.
  6. ^ London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, Archived 2012-07-22 at
  8. ^ "What's On - LAMDA". Archived from the original on 2012-02-24. Retrieved 2018-10-25.
  9. ^ "Hollywood Reporter's list of the top 25 drama schools by Tim Appelo". Archived from the original on 6 May 2012. Retrieved 4 May 2012.
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ a b Rainbow, Bernarr & Kemp, Anthony (2001). "London (i), §VIII: Educational institutions, 3. Conservatories". In Root, Deane L. (ed.). The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. Oxford University Press.
  14. ^ 'Country and Colonial News'.The Musical Times, Vol. 48, No. 768 (Feb. 1, 1907), p.119.
  15. ^ Snow, Georgia (26 July 2019). "RADA and LAMDA leave Conservatoire for Dance and Drama to become independent institutions". The Stage. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  16. ^ "Annual Report & Financial Statements For the year ended 31 July 2019" (PDF). London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  17. ^ Hoggart, Paul (10 July 2017). "Backstage: Why LAMDA's £28 million extension is making jaws drop". The Stage. Retrieved 15 January 2020.
  18. ^ "Hire a Space". London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  19. ^ "LAMDA Trustees | LAMDA". Retrieved 2019-10-16.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°29′26″N 0°12′52″W / 51.49056°N 0.21444°W / 51.49056; -0.21444