Liverpool Theatre School Celebrates 85 Years of Teaching the Stars 

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Liverpool Theatre School performers

Liverpool Theatre School is set to mark its 85th birthday with a year-long programme of events and performances including a student take over at the Leicester Square Theatre in London’s West End and a showcase at the Floral Pavilion Theatre in New Brighton. 

During its 85th anniversary year, the centre of excellence is also inviting young performers with a passion for dancing, singing and acting to experience a day in the life of an elite student in a series of taster days. There will also be free musical theatre, dance and acting workshops at local secondary schools and colleges taking place throughout the year. 

As one of the city’s longest running stage schools, Liverpool Theatre School boasts an endless list of success stories with graduates going on to appear in shows all over the world. Alumni include Tommy Sherlock, who starred in West End shows such as Matilda and Wicked before joining Tenors of Rock in Las Vegas; Oliver Ormson, who plays Prince Hans in Frozen the Musical; Graham Bickley, who has appeared in West End shows like Les Misérables and Miss Saigon, although he is best known for playing Joey Boswell in the TV sitcom Bread.  

Liverpool Theatre School graduates also include Natalie Pilkington, who is currently touring in SIX; Tim Lucas and Josh Capper, who are both touring in Blood Brothers; as well as Coronation Street and Hollyoaks star Stephanie Davis, actor Sam Kane and renowned choreographer and casting consultant Graeme Pickering. 

Speaking about Liverpool Theatre School’s 85th anniversary, Principal Maxine Ellis, said: “As we celebrate reaching such a significant milestone, we’re incredibly proud to have given so many of the city’s talented young performers the opportunity to train professionally, preparing them for success in the industry. We work with some of the best tutors in the business to make elite training, which was once only available in London, accessible to students in Liverpool.

“Our anniversary year is about celebrating the hard work and achievements of everyone who makes up the Liverpool Theatre School family from our current students and graduates to the incredible teachers and support staff who have always made the place so special. We have lots of exciting plans in the pipeline for the next generation of performers and I am looking forward to seeing Liverpool Theatre School continue to thrive as we keep on with our mission to nurture and develop emerging talent. Here’s to the next 85 years!” 

This year has already got off to a flying start for Liverpool Theatre School’s Norah Button, who was named in the King’s New Year Honours list for her contribution to dance and her commitment to improving opportunities for young people in the city. Norah, who was Principal at Liverpool Theatre School for more than five decades, will host a special celebration in the spring when she officially receives her British Empire Medal (BEM). The renowned teacher, whose grandmother started Liverpool Theatre School in 1939, also turns 85 this month. 

Reflecting on 85 years of Liverpool Theatre School, Norah said: “My gran started Liverpool Theatre School from the basement of her home in Upper Parliament Street by teaching a small group of local children. I’m sure she would be blown away to see the centre of excellence it has become today. I’m thrilled to share my 85th birthday celebrations with Liverpool Theatre School, which has had such a big impact on improving opportunities for many of the city’s young performers.”

Every year, Liverpool Theatre School provides a number of fully funded places and bursaries to make sure no talented student is ever held back by financial circumstances. The Ofsted ‘outstanding’ school, is one of just 15 places in the country, and the only one in Merseyside, to offer the DaDAs (Dance and Drama Awards), designed to support students with the cost of professional training. 

Liverpool Theatre School, whose patrons include dance legend Wayne Sleep OBE, as well as actress and musical theatre star Anita Dobson, accepts only the most talented students (aged 16 plus) on its elite training courses, with places awarded through an audition process. Younger performers are invited to attend evening and weekend classes, which are open to anyone with a passion for singing, dancing and acting.  

To find out more about Liverpool Theatre School, to register for a taster day or to organise a free workshop for your school or college, please call 0151 728 7800 or visit

From the archives: Sir Ken Dodd Scholarship Launches at Liverpool Theatre School.

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