BDC Theatre College is a private specialist performing arts school based just outside Bath. BDC offers a vocational training course that prepares students to take the next step towards a career in the performing arts industry. Alongside foundation training, the course includes a BTEC level 3 extended diploma in performing arts (equivalent to three A levels).
The course includes intensive training in a variety of dance and musical theatre genres. A select number of students are offered places each year and through focussed study, students develop the skill, stamina and discipline required for higher level training or professional work. BDC has seen great success in recent years with 100 percent of students that auditioned last year going on to secure places at some of the country’s leading drama, musical theatre and dance schools including: Laine Theatre Arts, Urdang Academy, Bird College, GSA (Guildford School of Acting) and Mountview Academy of Performing Arts.
BDC Theatre College was created following the retirement of professional dancer and current Artistic Director George Hill and is based in recently refurbished Victoria Hall which boasts five light and airy dance studios and an in-house studio theatre.
Our foundation course, which includes a BTEC qualification equivalent to three A levels, is accessible to students aged 16 plus and is built around an extensive programme of training in dance and musical theatre. As part of a small intake, students receive specific feedback and critique during classes, allowing them to continually develop and improve. There are three formal performance opportunities throughout the year giving students the chance to demonstrate their skills in-front of a live audience. Performances take place in the college’s 100 seat tiered studio theatre at the end of each term.
Offering 5 full days of training per week our unique foundation course is made up of two elements:
Practical Foundation training
The course is built around a vigorous programme of dance technique training. Regular classes in ballet, contemporary, jazz and tap form the backbone and are complemented by additional classes in commercial dance, improvisation, choreography, body conditioning, drama, ensemble singing, private singing tuition and musical theatre integration classes as well as masterclasses with leading industry professionals.
Certain core classes are split by ability, ensuring that classwork is of an appropriate level, allowing students to continually develop and improve. Our qualified teaching staff, having completed their own training and worked professionally within the industry themselves, have the knowledge and experience to guide students towards their next steps.
168 UCAS points
We also offer a level 3 extended diploma in performing arts, equivalent to three A levels, enabling students to continue their academic journey whilst also pursuing our foundation course. Students use skills developed through the practical foundation training to complete projects including; performance workshop (choreography), performing arts in the community, individual performance commission and examinations in core subjects such as; ballet, tap, jazz and contemporary dance technique.
Practical work makes up the majority of the BTEC qualification, assessed through classwork and performance. There are also a small number of written assignments on which students are assessed. We offer this qualification alongside our foundation training as it gives students the necessary UCAS points to gain access to degree courses upon graduation, should they wish.
The BTEC qualification is delivered through an affiliation with The Midsomer Norton Schools Partnership and The Sixth Form www.msnsixth.com.
Our teaching staff are qualified both by their professional experience as well as their teaching skills. We also invite regular guest teachers, who are still working in the industry, to take master classes in various dance genres. The college has well established links with the Shh Talent Agency who represent some of the country’s leading musical theatre performers, dancers and actors. Agents regularly attend in-house performances and keep a close eye on progress made throughout training and, if appropriate, may choose to represent students post BDC as they take their next step.
LUKE AIDEN BYRNE
Training at ArtsEd, London alongside also teaching at London Studio Centre Luke is still performing with recent credits including La Cage Aux Folles, White Christmas, Soho Cinders, and Showtune.
Training at the Royal Ballet Lower and Upper School, Dawn was a soloist with Scottish Ballet for 14 years performing around the world. Throughout her career, she danced many leading classical roles in classical ballets such as The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and Giselle to name a few.
Jaered trained at the Royal Ballet School, London and professional credits include: The Royal Ballet, The Royal New Zealand Ballet, Norwegian National Ballet. Jaered has additionally worked internationally as a contemporary and jazz choreographer receiving recognition from Lady Gaga.
Born in Bath, George started dancing at his mothers’ dancing school the Susan Hill School of Dancing in Bath. He then continued his training at The Royal Ballet School in London. Upon graduation George went on to dance throughout Europe joining the Dutch National Ballet in Amsterdam and later the Dresden Semperoper Ballet in Germany dancing as a soloist as well as guesting in America and Asia. His repertoire includes works by famous choreographers including: Ashton Macmillan, Mat Eks, Kylian and Forsythe. Alongside performing on stage, George has taken on a number of roles in Television and film work. Most recently George was in the world premiere of McQueen, The Play in London’s West End.
With over 40 years of teaching experience Sue brings a wealth of knowledge to our staff. Deciding at a young age that teaching was her passion Sue started her own school, the Susan Hill School of Dancing in 1982 and his since taught thousands of children across all levels. With a BA honours in Dance, Sue has produced a number of shows and provided dancers for many corporate events including the Paralympics in 2012 and most recently Sky Sports. Sue additionally owns a boutique agency which represents a number of clients currently working in film, television and theatre.
Katie trained at Performers College, London and as a professional dancer performed alongside artists including Kylie Minogue, Lionel Richie and S Club 7 to name a few. Since retiring from dance Katie has taken an active role in choreography and was recently commissioned by Guy Garvey to create a piece for the South Bank Centre, London.
Training at BDC Gabbie went on to complete her training at The Urdang Academy, London, graduating with a first-class honors degree. She is also a certified mental health first aider. Graduating during the COVID pandemic, Gabbie has chosen to focus on teaching for the short term with plans of returning to the stage.
Alex trained at Sue Hill Dance before going on to graduate from Rambert School of Ballet & Contemporary Dance,
For a number of years Alex was a resident artist at the Centre Chorégraphique National de Rillieux-la-Pape (CCNR) under directorship of Yuval Pick touring nationally and internationally.
As a freelancer has worked worked with artists such as Gary Clarke, Johanna Roggan, Joe Moran, Steph Singer, Inky Cloak, Lola Maury and Collectif ES.
Training at Central School of Ballet, London, upon graduation Candice went on to dance professionally with The Salzburg Ballet and Dance Company Amsterdam. She has also performed with Bejart Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet as a guest artist and in the Westend production of Cats.
Biography to be updated shortly.
As a child, Katie attended Sue Hill Dance before gaining a scholarship to study at Arts Ed Tring. Katie then went on to further study at Mountview and the London School of Musical Theatre.
Professional performing credits include Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Little Shop of Horrors, Fame, The Drowsy Chaperone, and Smokey Joe’s Cafe. Katie has also performed as a soloist at the O2 arena and was the lead vocalist of the Show Cast with Marella Cruises.
Hattie trained at BDC before going on to complete her training at Laine Theatre Arts. Since graduation, Hattie has worked internationally on cruise ships as a dancer touring areas from the Baltics to the Caribbean. Alongside teaching at BDC Hattie has also previously taught at Laine Theatre Arts.
Jess trained at Liberatus Performing Arts in Swindon and has recently been working for Head-liners Theatre Company and the Royal Court Theatre Company onboard P&O and Cunard cruise ships. Most notably in the debut cast of the award-winning musical “Top Hat”. Jess has also worked with Balletboyz.
Paula trained in vocal studies at Chethams School of Music and is a graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music. Musical Theatre Credits include: Fantine in Les Miserables, Oliver, Cats (UK tour) Chess and played the leading lady, Eva Peron in Evita. She has appeared in concerts fo Andrew Lloyd Webber and as a soloist with the RTE Orchestra in Dublin. Paula has also sung regularly as a soloist on BBC Radio 2 series of songs from the shows.
As a child training at Sue Hill Dance and later BDC Lulu went on to complete her studies at the Urdang Academy London. Upon graduation, she joined Royal Caribbean playing the role of Frenchy in Grease. She looks forward to returning to the cast of Grease soon however is happy to be able to give back to the place where it all began.
Training with Sue Hill Dance and later BDC Ella went on to complete her training at Millennium Performing Arts, London graduating with a first-class honors degree. Upon graduation, in this difficult time, Ella has returned to us for the time being with hopes of working commercially alongside teaching.
Coming originally from Bristol, Callum trained at Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) and later Northern Ballet School. Working both in Theatre and Commercial Dance Callum’s credits range from Dirty Dancing to X Factor.
Chantelle’s theatre credits include: ‘Chicago’ (Garrick Theatre) Hunyak and Mamma Morton understudy. (Cambridge Theatre) Annie and Swing. Chantelle has also covered and played Velma Kelly and Mamma Morton at the Cambridge Theatre. ‘The Stripper’ (UK Premiere). Understudy Dolores Keller/Sherry Mendes/Annabelle Jackson. ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ (UK & International Tour). ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat’ (New London Theatre & UK Tour) Apache dancer, understudy and played role of Mrs. Potifar. ‘Summer Follies’ (Westcliffe Theatre) and Thursford Spectacular. Her choreography credits include feature film ‘Jimmys Hall’ directed by Ken loach; the film was nominated for the main Palme D’Or Award at the 2014 Cannes film festival. ‘The Blue Planet’ a new musical based on the famous children’s book and ‘Iceland’s Got Talent’. Chantelle has also been working with UK choreographer Lee Proud and was associate choreographer and resident choreographer to him on ‘Billy Elliot’ and assistant choreographer on ‘Mama Mia’, both in Iceland. Chantelle’s next project will be working on the UK and London production of ‘Rent’ as the assistant choreographer to Lee Proud and resident director for the 2016-2017 production.
Joel is a principal dancer with international ballet companies and in the West End. Joel has toured the world in many ballets such as Swan Lake and The Nutcracker. Most recently he played the principal character Mr Mistoffelees at the Palladium in London’s West End, in the 2015 production of Cats, alongside Nicole Scherzinger in the role of Grizabella.
Training at Italia Conti Academy of Performing Arts his credits include: Puttin’ On The Ritz (UK Tour), Rita Ora, Pixie Lott, Aladdin, Peter Pan, Cinderella, So You Think You Can Dance, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. In addition to performing Fraser has choreographed commercials for Very, John Lewis and British Airways.
Training at LIPA Myron’s theatre credits include: Melanie C, Nokia, Robbie Williams, The Brit Awards, Thriller Live, X Factor, Strictly Come Dancing.
Claire originally trained in Musical Theatre at Italia Conti before beginning her career as an all-round sassy diva! Now her true love lies in the commercial world, specialising in all things Femme. Her professional credits include Panasonic, British Airways, Specsavers, Very.co.uk, Comic Relief, ITV This Morning, Big Issue as well as Music Videos, Corporate and Celebrity Events.
SAERA AND ALIX MORRIS
Training at Masters the twin’s credits include : Taio Cruz, ITV This Morning, Rita Ora, Britain’s Got Talent, X Factor, Eastenders.
Brendon trained at The Laban Centre. After a long successful career as a dancer Brendon turned his focus to the more creative side of dance and made the transition to choreography and direction. Brendon’s career as a choreographer exploded and he has gained a vast range of experience including; commercials, television, feature films, music videos, theatre, live shows, fashion shows, crowd movement and featured artist movement. Credits include: Renault, Smirnoff, Diesel, Sky 1, Just Dance, Superdrug, Cemetery Junction (Ricky Gervais), Sky 1, RITON, and Virgin Media to name a few.
Training at Laine Theatre Arts & The Royal Ballet School, Carrie’s credits include: West Side Story (Salzburg Festival), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (UK Tour), Mack and Mabel (UK Tour), McQueen The Play (St James Theatre, London), Mathew Bourne Swan Lake (International Tour), Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (UK Tour), Beauty and the Beast (Hexagon Theatre, Reading), Some Like It Hotter (Zurich), One Man’s Dream (Disney).
BDC Theatre College is based in the historic Victoria Hall in Radstock. The building underwent extensive and sympathetic renovation in 2013 resulting in four light and airy studios, and a large theatre style studio with tiered seating, providing an inspiring setting for the students to undertake their training. We also have an additional fifth studio in our sister building less than a two-minute walk from the main building.
All rooms are fitted with ballet barres and mirrors, along with top quality sprung dance floors and sound systems to match; some studios additionally house pianos. Our fully equipped 100 seat tiered studio theatre provides students with the perfect platform to perform and show off their technical and artistic skills learnt in training, in front of live audiences, with regular performance opportunities taking place throughout the year.
Within the building there are ample changing facilities including lockers for personal items. In breaks between classes, students can relax in our comfortable coffee bar. Within walking distance from the college is a large co-op and convenience stores. There is a regular bus route from the centre of bath, every fifteen minutes, dropping students outside the Victoria Hall. Students are additionally able access college buses with pickup points across Bristol, Keysham, Shepton Mallet, Frome and Bath. With Bath Dancewear conveniently located across the road, students are able to access specialist pointe shoe fittings and buy any uniform or dancewear required.
Upon leaving BDC, most students fall into one of the three following categories;
Should students feel they would like to pursue further training, BDC help students research and audition for courses that suit their future career ambitions.
Past students have been successful in gaining places at leading performing arts institutes both nationally and internationally, with students currently training at Urdang Academy, Laine Theatre Arts, Guildford School of Acting, Doreen Bird Theatre College, London Studio Centre, and Millennium to name a few.
It is possible that upon graduation some students do not wish to continue training and feel ready to take on the professional world.
Students will have the opportunity to leave BDC with a show reel, (highlighting and showcasing their personal talents), an up to date CV, and possibly an agent. This enables them to secure auditions and employment that suits their own personal ambition.
Past students are currently working across America and Europe in the fields of acting, and dance.
Higher & Further Education
Following their training at BDC, it is possible that students decide that they may prefer a career behind the lights as opposed to in front of them. Should this be the case, BDC help students through this transition, looking together with a member of staff at possible courses on offer – aiding students through the whole process from application to interview.
It is important to BDC that students are helped and still directed following their graduation, as they take their first steps in the industry. With a close connection to leading talent agency, Shh! Talent, students are given the opportunity to meet with the agents, who keep a close eye on progress throughout training and, if appropriate, may choose to represent students post BDC. Shh! Talent currently represents some of today’s leading musical theatre and acting artists.
A selection of BDC alumni working in the performance industry.