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 maximum of 25 students are offered a place each year and with 35 hours of classes each week, 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 35 hours of training per week our unique foundation course is made up of two elements:
Practical Foundation training
(23 hours per week
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
(12 hours per week)
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.
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.
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.
Coming originally form Bath, Katie trained at Performers College in professional dance and musical theatre. Upon graduation, Katie danced professionally in theatres and television studios internationally. Katie has performed alongside many famous 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.
Paula’s theatre credits include Cats (UK Tour) and the role of Nancy in Oliver at the London Palladium.
Resident BDC teacher Lyndsey trained at Bird Theatre College London. Theatre Credits Include: Starlight Express, Saturday Night Fever, Dirty Dancing and We Will Rock You.
Karen trained at the Royal Ballet School, London and joined the Royal Ballet rising through the ranks to a principal dancer taken on leading roles. In addition to teaching at BDC, Karen works for the Royal Ballet School teaching their associate programme. Karen danced a principal role in a variety of classical repertoires by some of the world’s choreographers, including Ashton, Macmillan and Petipa at The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Career highlights include dancing at the Royal Variety Show.
Hannah trained in musical theatre at the Royal Academy of Music. She also holds a First-Class Honours Degree in Drama and Film. As a performer, Hannah has worked with some of the countries top musical theatre performers including John Owen Jones, Jenna Russell and Hadley Fraser. She has appeared in concerts, cabarets and musicals nationally, and has sung with some of the UK’s leading orchestras. She has also featured as a soloist on BBC Radio 2’s Friday Night is Music Night.
Joe trained at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts graduating with Honours. Since graduating, his credits have included: Tap Specialist in Night of the Dance (Germany), Spirit of the Dance (UK Tour), Tap Specialist in Hot Legs (European Tour), Top Cat: The Musical (Original Workshop Cast) and performances with Headliners Theatre Company onboard the P&O Aurora. He has also worked with Tap Attack and the England Tap Team, performed at a number of high-profile corporate events and has appeared in adverts for Film 4, Pringles and Ford Mondeo. Joe holds his Licentiate Modern and Tap with the ISTD and is also fully qualified with the Imperial Ballet faculty. He has taught and choreographed jazz and tap for a number of vocational colleges including Creative Academy, Italia Conti, Morea Performing Arts, Brit School, CPA Studios and D&B College.
Resident BDC Jazz and Contemporary teacher Jaered trained at the Royal Ballet School. 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.
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.
EMILE J CLARKE
Training at LIPA Emile continues to work internationally as a screen and stage actor.
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.