London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art

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

London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art
The main entrance to LAMDA
TypeDrama school
Established1861 (1861)
ChancellorBenedict Cumberbatch
DirectorSarah Frankcom
AffiliationsConservatoire for Dance and Drama

It was announced on 16 January 2018 that Benedict Cumberbatch has succeeded Timothy West as LAMDA's President.[2] LAMDA's Director is Sarah Frankcom, who succeeded Principal Joanna Read in 2019.[3][4] In recent years, over 98% of LAMDA's stage management and technical theatre graduates have found work in their chosen field within weeks of graduation and the Academy's graduates work regularly at the Royal National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, Shakespeare's Globe, 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]

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

In July 2018, LAMDA joined the register of Higher Education Providers, and receives funding directly from the Office for Students. This means that eligible UK/EU students are able to access loans to assist with their tuition fees and maintenance costs. LAMDA left the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama on 31 July 2019, having been an affiliate member since 2004.[9]


The London Academy of Music was founded by Henry Wylde in 1861;[10] this makes the Academy the oldest of its kind in Britain. 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.[11]) 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.[10]

A move to the Talgarth Road in west London has enabled LAMDA to develop the campus and training facilities for its students. The site was previously home to the Royal Ballet School, which moved to new, purpose-built facilities adjacent to the Royal Opera House.

Performances & Films

LAMDA presents public productions in its three performance spaces, the Sainsbury Theatre, the Carne Studio Theatre and The Linbury Studio.[12]

Boards and Honorary Fellows

Board of Trustees[13]

  • President: Benedict Cumberbatch CBE
  • Vice-President: Dame Janet Suzman DBE
  • 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

  • Norman Ayrton
  • Eileen Collins LLAM (Hons)
  • Colin Cook FRSA
  • Zoë Dominic OBE
  • The Rev. Michael Forrest
  • Brian Tilston LLAM (Hons) FLAM

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 2018-03-08. Retrieved 8 March 2018.
  3. "Sarah Frankcom to step down as artistic director of Manchester's Royal Exchange Theatre | WhatsOnStage". Retrieved 2019-10-14.
  4. "Press Office" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2013-05-14. Retrieved 2018-10-25.
  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. Snow, Georgia (2019-07-26). "RADA and LAMDA leave Conservatoire for Dance and Drama". The Stage. Retrieved 2019-10-14.
  10. Bernarr Rainbow & Anthony Kemp. "London (i), §VIII: Educational institutions, 3. Conservatories". In Deane L. Root (ed.). Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. (subscription required)
  11. 'Country and Colonial News'.The Musical Times, Vol. 48, No. 768 (Feb. 1, 1907), p.119.
  12. "Productions and Films | LAMDA". Retrieved 2019-10-14.
  13. "LAMDA Trustees | LAMDA". Retrieved 2019-10-16.

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