Drama Studio London was founded in 1966 by actor/director Peter Layton who felt that, at the time, there were few schools reflecting the real demands of the profession. Consequently, he designed a radical one year programme which he ran from a church hall in Putney. The success of this course led to the expansion of the school and a move to our present home in Ealing.
During the 1980’s our reputation grew and we opened a branch of the studio in Berkeley, California, and launched our highly successful Summer School. The Berkeley branch (no longer operational) helped launch careers such as that of Forest Whitaker. In 1983 we started a 1-Year Directing Course, admitting only a few students a year, which ran until 2009. In 1994 our flexible, studio theatre space, Grange Court Theatre, was opened and the following year the Friends of Drama London Studio was founded under its patron, Dame Judi Dench. Find Out More.
Peter Layton retired from the day to day running of the Studio in 2003. He continued as chairman of the company working closely alongside the then Principal, Peter Craze.
The following 10 years saw huge changes. In 2008, after several years of planning, we began the two year programme, designed and run by Chris Pickles who, in 2012, became Principal. Then, in 2010 Kit Thacker was appointed Managing Director with responsibilities for the finances, structure and strategy. In order to accommodate the new two year course, we hired three large studios, a class room and an office 5 minutes walk away from Grange Court at the Questors Theatre complex on Mattack Lane.
More recently we have built and equipped a TV Studio as well as a customised Sound Studio and taken all of our graduating productions into Central London venues.
2014 saw perhaps the biggest change when the school was bought by a consortium of faculty and staff. Since then we have gone on to introduce new part-time courses and, in 2016, launched our first degree course - BA (Hons) in Professional Acting, validated by
De Montfort University in Leicester.
This constant evolution has not stopped, but the one thing that will never change is our commitment to vocational, professional training based on our three principle
By teaching, tutoring and directing in line with these principles we believe we can enhance innate talent with skills, expertise and creativity and send our graduates out ready for the profession.
You can find out more information about our faculty and staff here.