The Musical Theatre Academy, formerly at risk of closure, to remain open
The Academy has been in operation since 2009
Update: – The academy will remain for the time being! See quotes from Annemarie Lewis Thomas here:
"By the evening of 19th July our students and graduates had started a Go Fund Me campaign, which to date has raised over £13K. In addition to this some private benefactors have offered us sufficient funds to ensure that the class of 2022 will be able to graduate from the college. We have also been donated other help in kind in a bid to help us to find a way to make #theMTAway viable moving forward, without compromising our training."
"We are aware that we still have a fight on our hands, and we'd value your support moving forward as we continue to fight not just for us, but for all the independent colleges that like us, know that it's training that creates careers, not an arbitrary piece of paper that says ‘degree'. We call on Spotlight and Equity once again to re-visit their criteria around entry to their graduate list, thereby giving our students the opportunity to at least apply for some of the bursaries that they manage."
You can read our original story here:
The Musical Theatre Academy, first founded in 2009, will close down at the end of this academic year.
In a statement released on social media, the school's principal/CEO Annemarie Lewis Thomas said "the class of 2021 will be the final graduating year of the college". She stated that the reason for closure is "not a lack of demand to train with us, there's a lack of funding to facilitate it", given the financial impacts of the pandemic and a number of further factors.
The school aimed to deliver a musical theatre course for aspiring professionals in two years rather than the conventional three. The academy has stated it will continue to support all current students, including with an all-day access to a mental health clinician.
Lewis Thomas issued a further warning, saying "The vocational training industry in the UK has been completely decimated in recent years...we're not the first college to close, and we most definitely won't be the last – but the industry needs to wake up and see what's happening. A conglomerate of 'large' colleges should not be the ultimate goal here. Our industry shouts about inclusivity, diversity and celebrating the individual, but that goes out of the window when we have a corporate training industry in the UK."
She has called for an independent body to regulate training, and stated that "in spite of tangible successes [including the fact that 100 per cent of students secured agent representation prior to graduating], even our own industry failed to give us the support that we asked for, with both Equity and Spotlight refusing to recognise us as a graduate course, thereby preventing our students from getting any of the various bursaries they endorse or manage."
MTA chair Jon Harris further cited issues around Brexit as an issue, and that the removal of the Professional Career Development Loan scheme in 2019 also severely undermined student ability to apply for the course.
Patrons for the organisation included Lara Pulver, with the academy twice winning "School of the Year" in The Stage Awards.
A fundraiser has been set up to try and help the Academy – you can contribute here.