Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts

Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts is a drama school in Peckham, south London, England, founded in 1945.[1] The Academy provides specialist vocational training in acting and musical theatre, as well as production arts. The President of the school is Dame Judi Dench, and the Principal and Artistic Director Stephen Jameson.

Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts
TypeDrama school
ChairmanVikki Heywood CBE
PresidentDame Judi Dench CH DBE
PrincipalStephen Jameson
DirectorSarah Preece
120 Peckham Hill Street
, ,
SE15 5JT
51°28′29″N 0°04′11″W

The institution prepares students for a professional career in the performing arts. The academy and its courses hold Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency (QCDA) recognition, validated by the University of East Anglia and Trinity College, London. It was rated "Outstanding" for Overall Effectiveness by Ofsted in 2015.[2] Key areas of study include performance and production. It is a member of the Federation of Drama Schools.[3]


Mountview was founded in Crouch End in 1945[4] by Peter Coxhead and Ralph Nossek as "The Mountview Theatre Club", an amateur repertory company staging a new production for a six-day run every second week. Among the club's productions were Coxhead's staging of Eugene O'Neill's Mourning Becomes Electra, a production of the complete Arnold Wesker Trilogy – Chicken Soup with Barley, Roots and I'm Talking about Jerusalem directed by Peter Scott-Smith – and Buttered Both Sides, a revue written and composed by Mountview member Ted Dicks and directed by Gale Webb, which later transferred to the Fortune Theatre in London's West End.

Early in 1946, when 21 years old, Coxhead borrowed £2,300 to buy the lease of Cecile House, a large derelict property at Crouch End, north London.[1] Development at Cecile House, included the conversion of a gymnasium into what became the Mountview Theatre.[5]

The Mountview Theatre officially opened in November 1947 with a production of The Importance of Being Earnest.[1] The theatre presented one play each month until 1949, after-which Coxhead bought the building outright from the leaseholders. For the next 25 years the theatre staged a new production every two to three weeks. Ralph Nossek went on to pursue a professional acting career in 1955 that lasted 56 years.

Acting courses and technical theatre skills training were introduced part-time from 1958 when Mountview Theatre School was formally recognized in name. Its first President was George Norman with Coxhead as its Principal; this was the format for the next 10 years.

In 1969 the school began full-time drama courses. Dame Margaret Rutherford became the school's second president; in 1972 she was replaced by Sir Ralph Richardson.

In 1971 a second performance space was built and opened as the Judi Dench Theatre, there were also 10 working studios for acting students, three for technical students and a wardrobe with more than 15,000 costumes. Sir Ralph Richardson died in 1983 and was replaced as president by Sir John Mills. By 1985 the school had leased additional premises at Wood Green, that were named the Sir Ralph Richardson Memorial Studios.

Coxhead retired as Principal in 1996 he was replaced by Paul Clements the former Director of Drama at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Peter Coxhead became Chairman and Chief Executive of the school board until 2000 when Mountview Theatre School changed its name to the Mountview Acadmemy of Theatre Arts, In 2001 Coxhead was awarded an MBE for Services to the Arts. He died in 2004 after 59 years involvement with the school.

In 2005 John Mills was replaced by new and current president Judi Dench. Paul Clements remained as principal until 2008 when he was replaced by Sue Robertson, previously Dean of the School of Arts at City University London, who herself was replaced by Stephen Jameson in 2014. He was previously Associate Director at LAMDA.[6][7]

In 2007 the British reality television show E4 School of Performing Arts offered several would-be actors the chance to win scholarships to Mountview, Italia Conti and the ACM. Mountview's Director of Acting Programme, Amir M. Korangy appeared on the show as part of the panel.

In 2011 Mountview principal Robertson announced plans for the school to relocate to Hornsey Town Hall in Crouch End, north London, for the beginning of the 2014–15 academic year. The Grade II-listed building was planned to be refurbished in a £19 million project.[8] Haringey Council's cabinet approved the plan on 26 April 2011.[9] In 2016, after the plan fell through, Mountview received planning permission for a new site in Peckham, south-east London.[10] The new building opened in September 2018.

Full-time courses



  • FdA in Theatre Production Arts
  • BA Hons in Performance (Acting)
  • BA Hons in Performance (Actor Musician)
  • BA Hons in Performance (Musical Theatre)
  • BA Hons in Theatre Production Arts


Short courses

  • 3 Week Musical Theatre Boot Camp
  • 3 Week Acting Summer Master Class
  • Community Outreach Program
  • Haringey Young Peoples Bursary
  • Young Peoples Classes
  • Young Peoples Summer School

Past presidents

Past principals

  • Peter Coxhead 1958–1996
  • Paul Clements 1996–2008
  • Sue Robertson 2008–2013

Notable alumni

For a full list of previous notable students, see Category:Alumni of the Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts


  1. "Peter Coxhead Obituaries The Stage". The Stage. The Stage, Jul 15, 2004. 15 July 2004. Archived from the original on 30 November 2016. Retrieved 30 November 2016.
  2. "FE&S report – Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts Limited". Ofsted. 8 October 2015.
  3. Granger, Rachel. "Rapid Scoping Study on Leicester Drama School" (PDF). De Montfort University Leicester. Retrieved 7 September 2019.
  4. Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts 2009, p. 5.
  5. "Peter Coxhead". The Daily Telegraph Newspaper. London, England. 14 July 2004. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  6. "New Mountview Principal Announced". 2013. Mountview Academy. Archived from the original on 26 March 2015. Retrieved 11 March 2015.
  7. "Former LAMDA Associate Director, Stephen Jameson, will lead the north London drama school from January". Fourth Wall Magazine. 4 November 2013. Archived from the original on 22 October 2014. Retrieved 11 March 2015.
  8. The Stage 2011.
  9. Haringey Independent 2011.
  10. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 August 2017. Retrieved 14 August 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. "Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts | London | President & Artistic Associates | Mountview | About Us". Mountview Academy, 2016. Archived from the original on 1 December 2016. Retrieved 30 November 2016.
  12. "Michael Fentiman", United Agents. Retrieved 9 December 2018
  13. Brennan, Ailis; A Younger Theatre. Retrieved 11 December 2018
  14. "Rowena King". Archived from the original on 1 March 2016. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  15. "Eddie Marsan Full Biography". 2015. The New York Times. Archived from the original on 3 April 2015. Retrieved 13 March 2015.


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