Italia Conti Associates performing arts school to open in Bishop's Stortford
It's one of the oldest performing arts schools in the country – and Italia Conti is coming to Bishop's Stortford under the helm of local woman Hannah Ellaway.
As principal of Italia Conti Associates, Bishop's Stortford, 24-year-old Hannah will be offering aspiring performers between the ages of 6 and 18 training in acting, singing, ballet and musical theatre.
And on Saturday (Sept 18) the school will be holding a free open day at Birchwood High School, Parsonage Lane, when interested youngsters can just turn up on the day.
The performing arts school, which has an arts centre in Guildford, Surrey, alongside an academy at The Barbican and acting centre in Clapham, south London, was founded in 1911 by actress Italia Conti in a basement studio in the West End of London.
Famous ex-students include Noel Coward, Leslie Phillips and Jack Hawkins, along with West End theatre stars Bonnie Langford, Linzi Hateley and Tracie Bennett.
Hannah attended the Sylvia Young Theatre School in Marble Arch for her secondary school education and then trained in professional musical theatre at Italia Conti Arts Centre, Guildford, where she graduated as head girl.
She is excited to be bringing Italia Conti’s world-renowned training to her home town.
Her father, Lee Ellaway, told the Indie that launching the school was a first for Stortford and the wide range of skills taught there would mean youngsters would be "industry-ready" on graduation.
"It's the first step to professional training," said Lee, who is development and marketing manager for the associate schools.
"The classes the associate schools do are based on Conti's core four of ballet, acting, singing and musical theatre."
Lee said his daughter had been dancing since she was a baby and had her first professional job with the Disney channel.
Besides being involved in performance jobs recently she had also been an agent, but would be concentrating on her role as principal at the Stortford school.
He added Hannah would be keen to put on performances at the Stortford school and also, as it would have a direct link to the London base, rising stars from the town could be referred there.