Acting allows children to develop multiple skills whilst also helping to build their self-confidence, but sadly not all schools are equal when it comes to putting on a show. If your child’s timetable does not include sufficient provision for drama, or if they are keen to do more, London abounds with theatre classes for children of all ages. From group sessions to private classes or online workshops, this list aims to help you find the best way to add more drama (in the best way possible…) to your child’s education.
The Chiswick-based full-time performing arts school ArtsEd offers Saturday morning classes for three age groups (Explore – 7 to 10, Trainee – 11 to 13 and Creative – 14 to 16). The Saturday Skills Academy courses mirror school term time but there are also holiday and one-off sessions as well as courses run by ArtEd’s partners who use the school’s facilities.
Age: 7 to 16
Cost: £265 per term (10 Saturdays approx)
Sylvia Young Theatre School
Also a full-time performing arts school, SYTS offers part-time and holiday theatre and musical theatre courses for children at its central London venue. Despite the starry reputation of the school, there is no need for students to audition to take part and the courses are suitable for those with some experience or for those entirely new to theatre.
Age: 7 to 18
Cost: £260 for one week
Polyanna Training Theatre
Polyanna is a theatre school for children of all ages in Wapping. Classes are held in the evening and on Saturdays during term time. The school has been in existence for 25 years and specialises in drama, dance and preparation for LAMDA exams.
Age: 2 to 18
Cost: £50 to £160 per term
Gems Performing Arts
Based in Sydenham, Gems offers holiday and after school drama classes to children of all ages. A more structured Saturday School takes place during term-time, focusing on the three pillars of acting, dance and singing. Saturday School students work towards an annual end of year performance in the local Westwood Theatre.
Age: 3 to 16
Cost: £7 per class to £150 per week for holiday clubs
Organised throughout the term or in a holiday club format, Drama Queens classes use acting, games, music and movement to develop confidence, creativity and communication skills. Based in schools in Queen’s Park and Kensal Rise, Drama Queens can also offer personal tuition and LAMDA exam preparation.
Age: 18 months to 18
Cost: £130 per term (10 weeks approx)
Sparks offers filmmaking classes, workshops and holiday camps to children of all ages. Balham, which opened in 2010, was the original Sparks school followed swiftly by Highgate, Islington and Hampstead. The group now operates out of a network of 14 schools across London and the South East. In an era where – for better or worse – YouTube, Instagram and Tik Tok dominate, a knowledge of basic filmmaking would seem to be a hugely valuable skill.
Age: 5 to 18
Cost: £290 per term (10 weeks approx.); £365 for a one week holiday camp
The Omnibus Young Company is the youth theatre group of the Omnibus Theatre in Clapham. Classes for three different age groups are run during term time on Saturday mornings where children are encouraged to learn about script-writing, directing, acting and stage design. The Young Company devise their own work, collaborating to create an annual show that they perform in the theatre to friends and family.
Age: 5 to 16
Cost: £90 per term
This London-based company with multiple venues across the city runs weekly classes and holiday courses. Free trial classes are available to check that the Perform environment suits your child. A mix of acting and improvisation, dance and movement and speech and singing is used to help children develop group skills and to grow in confidence.
Age: 4 to 12
Cost: £190 per term (ten weeks approx); £295 for holiday courses lasting three days
Telling Tales by the Globe Theatre is a series of interactive online recitals and workshops that children can join from home. Actors and educators from the Globe propose three different sets of workshops to suit children of 3 to 8, 8 to 12 and 12 and above. Expect to be immersed in the world of Shakespeare’s plays for 1 hour.
Age: 3 to 18
Cost: £25 per household
If you enjoyed this article you might like to read “Why Drama isn’t a soft subject for GCSE.“
Photography courtesy of ArtsEd