History and Background

LAMDA is the oldest drama school in the UK. Founded in 1861 as the London Academy of Music, we were the first such institution to offer acting tuition – defining LAMDA’s ongoing role as a pioneer in its field. 


Today we offer exceptional vocational training for actors, stage managers, technicians, directors, and designers. We train a core cohort of approximately 220 UK and international students a year across five validated degree courses and LAMDA’s own range of diploma courses. Over Easter and the summer we welcome approximately 360 students onto our short courses. Click here to view a full list of our courses. 

Our training is delivered by a faculty of experienced tutors and a large number of visiting specialists and professionals. Together they enable our students to acquire the skills and develop the creativity necessary to excel in highly competitive professions. 

We contribute to the development of the dramatic art form by commissioning new writing projects each year. Three of the plays created at LAMDA have since been produced by professional theatre companies – Di Trevis’s Remembrance of Things Past (National Theatre), Mark Ravenhill’s Mother Clap’s Molly House (National Theatre) and Robin Soans’ Mixed Up North (Out of Joint Theatre Company & Octagon Theatre Bolton). Recent collaborators include Ché Walker, Bola Agbaje, Doug Lucie and Ella Hickson.

Our students also work with professional screenwriters, directors and editors, shooting original films on location. In 2014-15, we commissioned and produced ten new films by Tracy Brabin, Shaun Prendergast, Stephanie Street and Phil Davies, among others. LAMDA Films have been viewed over 20,000 times online in nearly 90 countries since 2011. 


LAMDA has been offering practical examinations in communication and performance subjects for over 130 years. Today, we offer a performance and communications-based syllabus leading to accredited and non-accredited awards in the UK and worldwide. Almost 98,000 candidates took our examinations in over 30 countries last year, making LAMDA the largest speech and drama awarding organisation in the UK. 

Our examinations are about achievement and empowerment. Anyone can take a LAMDA exam, regardless of age, ability, ambition or experience. Our ultimate aim is to provide every individual with the opportunity to develop the life skills they need to be a success, wherever their future takes them.

Click here for more information on our examinations.