London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art

Coordinates: 51°29′26″N 0°12′52″W / 51.49056°N 0.21444°W / 51.49056; -0.21444
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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 Principal is Professor Mark O'Thomas, who succeeded Director Sarah Frankcom in 2022. Benedict Cumberbatch succeeded Timothy West as President of LAMDA's Board of Trustees in 2018.[2][3][4][5][6]

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[7] and as a charity under its trading name London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.[8] There is an associate organisation in America under the name of American Friends of LAMDA (AFLAMDA).[9][10] A very high proportion of LAMDA's stage management and technical theatre graduates find work in their chosen field within weeks of graduation. LAMDA alumni have received 5 Academy Awards (out of 13 Oscar nominations), 9 SAG Awards, 13 Tonys, 15 Emmys, 19 Golden Globes, 21 BAFTAs, and 39 Olivier Awards.[11][12][13][14]

LAMDA is also in partnership with the Fulbright Program. Each year one U.S. applicant is awarded a Fulbright Scholarship by the UK Fulbright Commission to study for a Master of Arts in classical acting at the school.[15][16]

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;[17][18] this makes the Academy the oldest of its kind in BritainTemplate:Fix/category[citation needed], after - for example - the Royal Academy of Music (1822) and the Crystal Palace School of Art, Science, and Literature (1854). Originally located at St. James's Hall, it was divided into two compartments, one for women and one for men.[18] The Academy began on 15 November 1861, at which time the cost per annum was 15 guineas, or £15.75.[19] The Academy accepted students for all ages "with a decided talent, or showing an aptitude for learning".[19] Full scholarships were available.[19] The first philharmonic concert was held on 29 April 1863, following a public rehearsal on 25 April.[20][21] It was a performance of Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 3.[21]

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.[22]) 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.[17]

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.[23][24]

In August 2021 it was announced that Sarah Frankcom would step down as Director, and that LAMDA was conducting a search for a successor.[25] In August 2022, LAMDA announced that Professor Mark O'Thomas had been unanimously appointed by the board of trustees as principal and chief executive, with Dr. Philippa Standberg-Long appointed as head of actor training.[26][27][4]


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.[28] 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.[29]

Boards and Honorary Fellows

Board of trustees

  • 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 [30]

Honorary Fellows

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Notable alumni


  1. Granger, Rachel. "Rapid Scoping Study on Leicester Drama School" (PDF). De Montfort University Leicester. Retrieved 7 September 2019.
  2. "Benedict Cumberbatch becomes president of Lamda drama school". BBC. 16 January 2018. Archived from the original on 8 March 2018. Retrieved 8 March 2018.
  3. "LAMDA appoints Professor Mark O'Thomas as principal and chief executive". Retrieved 16 August 2022.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "LAMDA announces next Principal and Chief Executive". 16 August 2022. Retrieved 16 August 2022.
  5. "Sarah Frankcom to step down as artistic director of Manchester's Royal Exchange Theatre | WhatsOnStage". Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  6. "Press Office" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 May 2013. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
  7. "Lamda Ltd". Archived from the original on 7 November 2017. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
  8. London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, Template:Webarchive
  10. "What's On - LAMDA". Archived from the original on 24 February 2012. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
  11. "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.
  12. "London academy of music and dramatic art". IMDb.
  13. "Alumni | London academy of music & dramatic art".
  14. "Olivier Awards with MasterCard - Previous Winners | #BeInspired".
  15. "United Kingdom: 1 Fulbright/John Wood LAMDA Award in Classical Acting".
  16. "MA Classical Acting for the Professional Theatre | London academy of music & dramatic art". Retrieved 4 October 2022.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Template:Cite Grove
  18. 18.0 18.1 "London Academy of Music". Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper (London, England). 15 December 1861. p. 8.
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 "The London Academy of Music". The Daily Telegraph (London, England). 6 November 1861. p. 1.
  20. "New Philharmonic Concerts". The Morning Post (London, England). 25 April 1863. p. 4.
  21. 21.0 21.1 "New Philharmonic Concerts". The Daily Telegraph (London, England). 30 April 1863. p. 3.
  22. 'Country and Colonial News'.The Musical Times, Vol. 48, No. 768 (Feb. 1, 1907), p.119.
  23. Snow, Georgia (26 July 2019). "RADA and LAMDA leave Conservatoire for Dance and Drama to become independent institutions". The Stage. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  24. "Annual Report & Financial Statements For the year ended 31 July 2019" (PDF). London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  25. "Lamda boss to leave job amid 'conduct and management style' complaints". 10 August 2021.
  26. "O'Thomas named LAMDA Principal and Chief Executive". 18 August 2022.
  27. "LAMDA appoints Mark O'Thomas principal". 16 August 2022.
  28. Hoggart, Paul (10 July 2017). "Backstage: Why LAMDA's £28 million extension is making jaws drop". The Stage. Retrieved 15 January 2020.
  29. "Hire a Space". London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  30. "LAMDA Trustees | LAMDA". Retrieved 22 January 2023.

External links

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Template:Federation of Drama Schools Template:Performing Arts Schools in the United Kingdom

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