Our story began not in 1971 when the stage school was founded but back in the 1930’s when a young girl took her sister dancing and the dance teacher allowed her to join in the classes free of charge.
That girl was Jackie Palmer, who only two years after starting to dance was dancing professionally in pantomimes and went on to become a principal dancer, head girl and choreographer, performing in the West End and throughout the country.
In 1971 Marylyn and Chris were both working in London for the BBC with plans to marry later that year. Marylyn had been successfully teaching pupils privately and from this decided she wanted to leave the BBC and start her own stage school and asked her mother, Jackie Palmer, to join her. The school opened in The Oak Room of the original Town Hall with Forty pupils within two weeks numbers had doubled.
As the school increased in numbers a move was necessary and in 1979 the school moved to Easton Street. Ten more successful years followed and growth in numbers meant yet another move, this time to St.Augustine’s Catholic Primary School. This sufficed for the next twenty years, but again bursting at the seams, Marylyn & Chris had two purpose built dance studios erected on the site (2009), this extra breathing space allowed the school to flourish for a few more years, but it was clear an even bigger home was necessary, one which would not only accommodate more pupils, but one that could aid the childrens training by providing the very best learning environment possible.
So in 2013 the school moved into the Jackie Palmer Studios, a building encompassing dance studios, drama studios, singing rooms, changing rooms, with sprung floors, mirrors, barres – everything any pupil in Performing Arts would want.
What We Do and How We Do It
The philosophy of the school has always been that the care and the nurturing of the children is the main focus. Classes are structured so that all the children learn the core subjects; Modern, Tap, Drama, Acrobatic and Ballet for the girls. Pupils can then choose to do extra optional classes, either for fun or because they wish to specialise. These additional options are: Street, Commercial, Singing, Team Acro, Boys Ballet and Elite Drama.
Marylyn and Jackie have always considered their pupils to be their children, an extended family. That ethos has remained as the numbers of pupils and staff has grown. Despite the schools size, and success, we still aim for the feel of a family business.