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The Dance and Drama Awards Ten Years of Success 1999-2009

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Academy of Live and Recorded Arts

Arts Educational Schools London

Bird College

Cambridge Performing Arts at Bodywork

Drama Studio London

Elmhurst School for Dance

English National Ballet School 01

GSA Conservatoire

The Hammond


Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts

‌to enable more young, talented people Laine Theatre Arts

from a broader range of backgrounds Liverpool Theatre School and College

to access training of the highest quality Millennium Performing Arts

and equip them for careers in the Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts

dance and drama professions Northern Ballet School

The Oxford School of Drama

Performers College

The Dance and Drama Awards Ten Years of Success

SLP College

SLP College Leeds

Stella Mann College

Tring Park School for the Performing Arts

Urdang Academy

WAC Performing Arts and Media College


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Ten Years of Success

Funding Dance and Drama Training What are the DaDAs?

Why are they important?

For the past 10 years the Dance and Drama Awards have enabled over 16,000 of the country’s most talented performing arts’ students to access professional vocational training and education in dance, drama, musical theatre and technical theatre.

Without a DaDA, many students would be unable to train to the standard required by the industry and the profession would lose a large number of highly talented young people at a time when it has an increasingly important contribution to make to the cultural life of the country.

Funded by the Government through the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), DaDAs offer reduced tuition fees to students studying at 22 of the leading dance and drama institutions in England and offer assistance with living costs over the study period of two or three years. Students on the DaDA scheme follow programmes of training which lead to nationally recognised qualifications awarded by Trinity College London.

A sustained policy of DaDA funding has led to 10 years of unparalleled artistic and economic success. 03

Delivering First Class results • All DaDA institutions have been assessed at either Grade 1 (outstanding) or Grade 2 (good) by the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted)

Who benefits? The DaDAs are for students over the age of sixteen intending to pursue careers in dance, drama, musical theatre or technical theatre. Students graduate having benefitted from first class vocational training that will enable them to work in the performing arts in the UK and overseas. Programmes of study funded by DaDA have been specifically designed by employers and educationalists to meet the needs of the performing arts industry. DaDAs widen participation in performing arts training for individuals in under-represented sections of society.

• More than 95% of DaDA graduates were professionally employed in the performing arts during their first year of graduation in 2006/07 and 2007/08

• Prior to the launch of the DaDAs in 1999 only 13% of students graduated with accredited qualifications. Ten years later that figure is 100%. Graduates now hold Level 5 or Level 6 (degree equivalent qualifications) on the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF)

• DaDA courses are accredited by either the Council for Dance Education and Training or The National Council for Drama Training and are validated by Trinity College, London


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Ten Years of Success

What the DaDAs mean to the profession


Established professionals from diverse sectors of the industry are unanimous in their recognition of the significant contribution made by the DaDAs



Dame Judi Dench


Sir Derek Jacobi

“The Dance and Drama Awards have been one of the country’s real success stories in recent years, providing many talented young people with the support they so obviously deserve and so badly need. It is plain to see that this vital source of funding should be maintained and the achievements of the scheme built on for future generations.”

“The DaDA Awards have allowed a generation of young talented people, no matter what their means, the opportunity to study the performing arts at the highest level, thereby safeguarding the standards required for the theatre profession.”

Gillian Lynne CBE

Ms Elaine Paige

“One of the glories of the UK is the richness and diversity of its artistic scope, and the graduates of the 22 Colleges who receive help under the DaDA funding scheme are the future lifeblood of our theatres. I cannot stress too strongly how necessary a good training is; apart from actually making sure they get employment, it means better use of expensive rehearsal time and more scope for writers, directors, composers and choreographers. Also, it is through training in the theatre arts, especially in dance, that young people are taught that discipline and hard work are integral to progression in those fields. I have used several graduates of the DaDA colleges in West End productions and can vouch for their results.”

“Training for musical theatre is a serious and vitally important business. It takes dedication, discipline, time and resources. The Dance and Drama Awards have made it possible for talented young people, many of whom could not otherwise afford it, to undertake this essential professional training and to go on to great things in the theatre industry.”

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Amanda Holden



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“Talent is not just something you are born with. It needs to be nurtured, developed and supported. The Dance and Drama Awards have played a vital role in enabling young people, many from disadvantaged backgrounds, to develop their natural talent through professional training and to go on to make a vital contribution to the theatre industry.”

Stephen Mear

Choreographer (Olivier Award Winner, 2006)

“I consider the Dance and Drama Awards Scheme to be an enlightened advancement for the training of young people. Also I laud that the basic tenet of the Scheme is to award talent first.”

Darshan Singh Bhuller

Principal Dancer

London Contemporary Dance Theatre, Choreographer/ Director

“Congratulations to the Dance and Drama Awards. This has been a wonderful scheme and made a great difference in the lives of all the young recipients over the past 10 years. Well done!”

Liz Robertson



“I have been lucky to have been continuously employed in the world of theatre and dance for the whole of my working life. Throughout all that time I have worked alongside many, many talented performers whose careers have been enabled by the receipt of DaDA awards or similar public funding for dance and drama training and education. There can be little doubt that had these schemes not existed the current standards of British performance would not have been achieved. Additionally, many people from poorer backgrounds could never have broken free to becoming the huge performing talents that they now are. I call on all those who are considering the future of the DaDAs to ensure that funds for vocational training are at least maintained if not enhanced.”

Richard Pulford

Chief Executive

The Society of London Theatre/Theatrical Management Association

“For the past 10 years the financial assistance offered by the Dance and Drama Awards has enabled a considerable number of young people the opportunity to access training of the highest quality and gain accredited qualifications at leading vocational institutions. This ensures those young dancers and actors are highly employable in what is a most competitive profession.”


“…relieving financial stress and anxiety, and allowing students and parents to concentrate on the important business of training” Caroline Miller

Director, Dance UK

“The Dance and Drama Awards provide a vital opportunity for exceptionally talented young dancers to train for their future careers. DaDA gives hope to both young people and their parents, relieving financial stress and anxiety, and allowing students and parents to concentrate on the important business of training and starting out in a competitive career on a positive note. Without DaDA the British dance sector, which is undergoing a period of growth and outstanding creativity would potentially lose the diversity of young talent who will build the strong industry of tomorrow.”

Thelma Holt

Theatre Producer

“The Dance and Drama Awards have become a vital support system for young people who aspire to entering the profession. We have justifiable cause to be very proud of the fact that these Awards have helped to maintain the universally acknowledged standard of our performing artists. They confirm that vocational training of the highest quality is the greatest service we can offer to young people who wish to further their artistic dream, regardless of their academic or social background.”

Kwame Kwei-Armah

Gavin Barker

Actor, playwright, singer and broadcaster

Gavin Barker Associates Management and Theatrical Agents

“As an Agent I represent many professionals who have trained at a DaDA funded vocational college. It is essential that young artists can access funding to support their professional training in order to meet the demands of the industry.”

“Setting up the Dance and Drama Awards was the act of an enlightened government that understands the contribution the arts make to our society. The results speak for themselves. The scheme has enabled young people from a wide range of backgrounds to undertake professional theatre training and to go on to make their mark in the industry. It will be even more important in the challenging times ahead.”

Nick Allott

Managing Director, Cameron Mackintosh Limited

“The musical theatre industry makes a major contribution to the country’s economy and, in difficult times, is more important than ever. Its contribution relies on talent and that talent needs to be trained and developed. The Dance and Drama Awards have enabled many young talented individuals from all walks of life to find employment, not only in the West End but in theatres around the world, thus providing a vital boost for a vital profession.”



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Musical Theatre


Stage Management



Prop Making

Production Management

Set Design



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Ten Years of Success

How a DaDA helped me

Connie Fisher

Winner of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘How do you solve a problem like Maria?’

“The reality is that, without a Dance and Drama Award, I would not have been able to train and would not have realised my dream of starring in the West End.”

Lara Pulver

Stage and Screen Actress

“I was fortunate enough to train at a DaDA Institute; this was only possible because I received a full 3 year scholarship. This industry is not elitist, it's talent that prevails and fuels the business. Without such funding schemes, young talent cannot be nurtured. At times like these, it is more important than ever that young people be given the opportunity to pursue as wide a range of careers as possible.”

Tarisha Rommick

The DaDA Awards are granted to students who have the potential, the talent and the commitment needed to complete courses of training that are amongst the most demanding. They come from all walks of life, but each has a story to tell about the difference their Award has made to their life and future prospects.

Currently performing in ‘Fame’ 10

“The DaDA Award was one of the best things that ever happened to me. It allowed me to follow my dream and gave me my theatre education. Since graduation I have worked continuously.”

Ibinabo Jack

2009 graduate

“Attending drama school without a Dance and Drama Award simply wasn't an option for me - there was no way that I could afford the tuition fees as well as living expenses in London. Having a DaDA has been a blessing, I am so grateful that I was able to complete my training knowing that my fees were taken care of.”


After her professional showcase Ibinabo’s phone rang constantly and she was contacted by thirty-six agents. She has just been offered her first role since graduating and will play Pilar in Legally Blonde, Savoy Theatre, London. Ibinabo feels so fortunate that she was offered a place at a DaDA institution and that with the help of the DaDA she managed to keep her head above water and complete her training.

Nicholas Duncan

2009 graduate

“I have recently graduated from a DaDA institution, to make my West End Debut in Mamma Mia. I have the DaDA institution to thank for this as the training I received was to such a high quality and they really set me up to leave and work in the industry. However this was only possible as they offered me a Dance and Drama Award at the start of my training. 12

Without a DaDA I would not have been able to attend college and I am certain I would not be where I am today. The fees for vocational training would have been too expensive for my parents to afford; and I know this to be the case for several other students who trained with me. The DaDA gave me the opportunity to go to college to train, and then get a job. For me the DADA was essential, so I am truly grateful for having had a government funded place”.

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Hasina Haque

2008 graduate, currently performing

in the National Theatre production of ‘All’s Well That Ends Well’ and ‘England People Very Nice’

“I found my way to a DaDA institution through an outreach programme funded by the DaDA Scheme. The Scheme then supported me throughout my training. Without it, my ambition of becoming an actor would still be unfulfilled.”

Chris Fossey

2009 graduate

“Receiving a DaDA was a lifeline for me. It enabled me to embark on a brilliant two year training programme which has prepared me for the demands of the industry. I have learnt so much and I have graduated with a real understanding of technical theatre disciplines. I have the confidence and the transferable skills required and I look forward to realising my dream job as a DSM in the West End.”

Jessica Edgar 13


2009 graduate

“I feel privileged to be in receipt of a DaDA, without it I would not be able to attend a vocational college and receive the outstanding training that I am currently getting. My parents could not afford to pay for my fees for the specialist training and the cost of moving away to study. I am also fortunate to be in receipt of a maintenance grant which enables me to afford my living expenses.”

Ashley Andrews


Currently performing in Chicago

“I can honesty say that going to a DaDA institution was probably the best thing that could have happened for me. Previously I found it very hard to understand why I seemed to be the one always in the wrong. I am a very out-spoken person, I say how I feel when I feel it, and this was always a problem... always told to be quiet, to behave, to concentrate! My concentration span was zero. I had ADHD.


I still have my personality and at times I do slip into the 'child' inside me, but I am able to recognise this and to control myself in lots of different situations. In my career I meet lots of people, I feel I am now a very aware person and can adapt effectively to fit in.” 17

Ten Years of Success


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18 Photography Peter Teigen

“Receiving a DaDA was a lifeline for me … it enabled me to embark on a brilliant two year training programme which has prepared me for the demands of the industry … I have learned so much”


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Ten Years of Success

History of the Dance and Drama Awards




Prior to 1999, there had been a random and nationally inconsistent means of accessing funds to train in the performing arts. Funding decisions were made by local authorities as a result of applications from would-be students living in their regions. Some authorities made funds available, others offered no financial assistance at all and the prospect of a professional career could depend entirely on where one lived. Many talented performers were lost to the industry during a time when funding was uncoordinated. The alternative to the limited amount of local authority funding available was for students to meet the cost of training, accommodation and subsistence themselves. Over a three year period this could amount to anything between £50,000-£70,000 by today’s standards. The consequence was that only those who lived in the ‘right county’ or who were in a position to pay privately were able to train and the British performing arts scene suffered correspondingly. Many performing arts students were expected to fund themselves, despite the enormous contribution they would make to the cultural and financial wealth of the country on graduation.




DaDAs provide a fairer and more equitable funding system that meets both the needs of students and the industry, transforming the sector and turning exclusivity to inclusivity. Since their introduction in 1999, DaDAs have enabled over 16,000 of the country’s most talented young actors, dancers, musical theatre artists and theatre technicians to access the highest standards of professional vocational training and education in the performing arts. From a wide-range of cultural, socio-economic and different ability backgrounds, DaDA students have undertaken a programme of rigorous, intensive and highly specialised study in learning environments where the sole focus is on excellence of professional achievement. The funding is vital. DaDA graduates succeed.



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Produced by the Steering Committee representing the 22 DaDA Institutions September 2009

Design by Devised 01903 873 188








Photo credits 01 Liverpool Theatre School and College

18 Peter Teigen

02 The Oxford School of Drama

19 Performers College

03 Millennium Performing Arts

20 Urdang Academy

04 The Oxford School of Drama

21 Peter Teigen

05 Millennium Performing Arts

22 Academy of Live and Recorded Arts

06 Laine Theatre Arts

23 David Bartholomew

07 Devised

24 The Oxford School of Drama

08 Urdang Academy

25 Rog Palmer

09 The Oxford School of Drama

26 Devised

10 Peter Teigen

27 Steve Porter

11 Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts

28 Devised

12 Liverpool Theatre School and College

29 SLP College Leeds

13 Performers College

30 Devised

14 David Bartholomew

31 Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts

15 WAC Performing Arts and Media College

32 Devised

16 Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts

33 Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts

17 SLP College Leeds

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A celebration of 10 years of the Drama & Dance Awards.

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