For talent to flourish, it takes a considerable amount of time to nurture it into an actual profession. This means that not many people with a knack for acting, singing, dancing and many other capabilities get the desired breakthrough to appear on the big screen. Nonetheless, schools such as the Sylvia Young acting school have made various endeavors to remedy this situation by offering world-class training. This level of training has helped to produce an unmatched list of performers in the world.
Sylvia Young is widely known not only as the brains behind the formation of the Sylvia Young Theatre School but also as its principal. Regardless of being more than 75 years old, she has done a commendable job in steering the school into a globally renowned institution that puts equal emphasis on academic and performing arts.
Family wise, Sylvia Young is the wife to Norman Ruffell. They have two children who are actors including Alison Ruffelle and Frances Ruffelle. Young is also an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE). She was appointed as OBE in 2005 due to her excellent work to the field of arts.
Sylvia Young takes great pride in the first-class teaching of SYTS. More importantly, she is satisfied with how the staff makes sure that students’ feet remain on the ground regardless of the roles they may be playing in TV, film and theatre. All this is achieved through encouraging the devotion to work hard as well as the schools weekly schedule, which comprises of three days of academic teaching and two days of vocational work.
Sylvia Young Theatre School
The prestigious Sylvia Young acting school has been in operation since 1972. Sylvia Young is acknowledged for the inception of the independent day and boarding school based in Marble Arch region, London. Since its establishment, it has maintained and portrayed a significant amount of emphasis not only on high academic standards but also on excellence in the performing arts like singing, drama and dance. The school has managed to achieve such standards by providing a caring and supportive atmosphere that is based on mutual respect, self-discipline understanding and co-operation.
Since Sylvia Young was established to provide both vocational and academic training, the stage school operates only on Thursday and Friday. During the other days of the week, the school works just like any other school. It boasts of two vocational floors, which comprise of rehearsal rooms, studios, two academic floors, a recording studio, a large canteen coupled with two courtyard gardens.
The current location in Central London serves a strategic purpose. As a result, the school is adequately served by the public transport. This allows it to draw the attention of students not only from South-East London but also across the larger UK region. The co-educational and non-denominational school has a student population ranging from 10 to 16 years. They join Sylvia Young Theatre School after completing the outlined audition process successfully.
Background of the School
The Sylvia Young acting school began its operations with part-time sessions in East London. Later in 1981, it started operating as a full-time institution on Drury Lane. Expansion endeavors forced the school to relocate to Rossmore Road in Marylebone in 1983. In 2010, it made another move to a converted church situated in 1 Nutford Place, Westminster. Since then, this location has served as the official site for the school throughout the years.
Students enrolled for Sylvia Young acting classes have made significant strides in their acting profession. As such, many of them have made several appearances on theatre, film as well as TV productions. They have played top roles in various films like The Lion King, Billy Elliott, Matilda, Les Miserables, The Bodyguard and Charles & The Chocolate Factory.
Steered by its goal to maintain high academic standards and excellence in performing arts, Sylvia Young acting school has created a reputation for producing some of the best actors in the world. Some of the school’s alumni include Matt Willis, Rita Ora, Emma Bunton, Denise Van Outen, Vanessa White, Jade Ewen, Matt Di Angelo and Billie Piper.
Admission to the School
At Sylvia Young, only those prospective students who display the ability or potential to take advantage of what the school offers become actual students. The decision to invite potential candidates to become students is reached based on academic tests, performance in auditions as well as information provided to the school.
The school makes sure that all admission decisions are made through a free-discrimination process. As such, students are picked based on merit as opposed to factors such as gender, disability, national origin, race or ethnic. Furthermore, Sylvia Young acting school must feel without reasonable doubt that it is in a position to teach and develop a prospective student to the best of his or her capabilities. This is to ensure that the student leads a fulfilling, successful and happy school career.
Admission to SYTS takes place at varying ages. Students at the age of 10 are admitted to year six while those at the age of 11 can be admitted to year 7. The school also allows admissions at other ages. However, this is dependent on the availability of places to accommodate other students.
The Admission Process
Firstly, students with the determination to be part of Sylvia Young acting legacy are required to send an application form, their school report and other relevant documents. An invite to audition then follows whereby they are requested to perform the following:
• A song of applicant’s choice
• A dance of applicant’s choice
• Two acting pieces, which are provided by the school
An admissions panel comprising of members of both the vocational and academic department observes to identify potential from prospective candidates. Aside from the auditions, prospective students of Sylvia Young acting school are required to undertake a full academic evaluation. The academic test includes a maths and an English test, which involves comprehension and creative writing. Additionally, full school reports and a reference may be requested from each prospective candidate’s current school.
Having a famous list of former students has played a significant role in placing Sylvia Young acting school on the map of top performing arts schools. For this reason, the school experiences a lot of competition from applicants. The several hundreds of applications submitted by potential students act as proof of the high demand to join the school. However, only a few of them are picked as eligible candidates.
Over the years, the number of full-time students has gradually increased to about 250 students. Most of them do not come from a wealthy background. In fact, more than 10% of the students study on a scholarship basis. The fee for key stage three (six to nine years) is £ 4,400 for a single term whereas that for stage 4 (10 to 11 years) is about £ 4500. For those who cannot afford to pay such fees, the school offers an opportunity to secure either part or full scholarships. In fact, Sylvia Young Theatre School boasts of about seven full scholarships, which include the Amy Winehouse Foundations, Andrew LLOYD Webber and Mackintosh.
Young’s commitment to train and foster young talent has continuously been displayed by her devotion to The Stage Scholarships scheme. As a matter of fact, Sylvia Young and her team have assisted over 70 children or students to pursue a successful career in the performing arts. Last year, The Stage Scholarships provided one full scholarship worth about £ 60,000. This scholarship was coupled with an opportunity to join the unsurpassed alumni list of former students who have made a name for themselves in different areas of performing arts.
Ella Tweed is one of the beneficiaries of the scholarship. She won the scholarship in 2015 and is expected to attend full-time training at Sylvia Young acting school for five years unperturbed about school fees. The 12-year-old is acknowledged for her roles in various films such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda and even an appearance in Game of Thrones.
How do you Qualify for a Scholarship
If you are interested in becoming part of Sylvia Young acting sessions, but you lack money to pay for your fees, then securing a scholarship for full-time training is the way to go. However, you have to bear in mind that eligible candidates have to be talented individuals in acting, singing or dancing. The school is interested in natural talent even if you are not fully trained. The process requires parents to fill out a questionnaire whereby they justify their application. Eventually, a means test to evaluate if the child is eligible is conducted.
Service Packages Offered at the School
1. Full-Time School
Full-time training in Sylvia Young Theatre School includes a three-day academic program from Mondays to Wednesdays. During this period, students have ample time to study for GCSE examinations and build vital skills. On Thursdays and Fridays, students follow an outlined vocational program whereby they receive training in different performing arts like singing, dance and drama. Aside from performing arts, they gain an opportunity to perfect their individual performance skills.
2. Part Time Classes
Students aged between 4-18 years old can also attend Sylvia Young acting classes where they receive high-quality part-time teaching or training. Part time classes are held on scheduled days like Thursday evenings as well as Saturdays. For part-time classes, students do not take exams. Instead, the school invites parents to the classes towards the end of every term in a bid to observe what their children have been working on all term.
The school derives part-time teachers from its full-time program. Also, the teaching profession is drawn from those teachers who are currently or have been engaged in professional performance. Additionally, the classes are committed to delivering vocational development with high-quality training. Students are grouped into several ages including:
• 4-6 years
• 7-10 years
• 11-13 years
• 14-18 years
Students who are successfully evaluated and invited to join the school on part-time basis gain access to various classes as follows:
• Street Dance
These classes are based on combinations of the latest pop and hip-hop music and high-energy movements.
Singing classes are intended to develop and nurture repertoire and technique while covering both musical theatre and popular music of the moment.
Jazz classes include a combination of the traditional style of jazz dance, especially for stage. The classes are meant to help students develop technique style and performance skills.
Drama sessions are based on general stagecraft and improvisation. They aid in developing acting skills by creating characters and devising scenes. In this case, some script work can be introduced.
Tap sessions offered at Sylvia Young acting school cover a broad range of areas from beginners to advanced tap. In fact, the classes are aimed at developing the students’ accent accuracy, rhythm, technique and style.
• Primary Dance
Primary dance sessions are a combination of tap and jazz dance.
3. Adult Classes
To add to its broad range of classes that target children, Sylvia Young Theatre School has developed several classes for adults. Adult classes are designed to suit all abilities and ages in a bid to help individuals to cultivate performing confidence and art skills. Drama and singing classes are offered on Wednesdays while drama classes are offered on Friday evenings only.
4. Studio Hire
The Sylvia Young Theatre School has established a good reputation as a top Central London facility for castings, rehearsals for theatre, film and TV. Aside from that, the school provides ten spacious, state-of-the-art studios that have air conditioning. The studios are equipped with various high-quality sprung floors, pianos and sound systems. More importantly, the building is accessible to Marylebone, Baker Street, Marble Arch underground stations.
5. Holiday Courses
During the holidays, Sylvia Young acting school offers holidays courses through professionals from the theatre world plus those from full-time school. Holiday school provides several classes in varying styles. Some of these courses include musical theatre course 10-18 years and theatre skills course 7-18 years. Aside from not being required to audition, holiday school offers an entertaining and exciting opportunity to network with new friends in a friendly and happy environment.
6. Experience Days
Experience days at the renowned Sylvia Young Theatre School take place on Sundays. The SYTS teachers precede over all the sessions. SYTS bags and lunch are usually provided during these sessions.
Friends of Sylvia Theatre School
At Sylvia Young Acting School, the parent teacher association is treated as a fundamental element of school life. The parent teacher association assists the school in all the possible ways. However, its primary function is to raise funds through social occasions and other means. By holding various social functions, the Friends of SYTS helps to eliminate the school diversity by uniting students, parents and teachers.
What are the advantages of joining Sylvia Young Theatre School
Becoming part of Sylvia Young acting classes opens a lot of doors for you. You not only gain access the same kind of facilities and training that other famous stars like Rita Ora got but also an opportunity to make yourself a star.
You can boost the acting skills you learn from Sylvia Young acting classes by enrolling for summer camp or film courses at the Young Film Academy. This creates an opportunity to interact with other young actors and filmmakers as well as a chance to enhance your screen acting abilities. Additionally, the opportunity to work on professional movies at Young Film Academy gives you material to create a compelling showreel.
In a nutshell, joining schools like Sylvia Young or Young Film Academy can mold you into an A-list performer. However, it is important to note that getting to the top requires a lot of hard work, passion and patience. Combining such attributes with what you learn from these schools serves as a recipe for success in performing arts.