Carolyn Sands, Co-Founder, Retires

On Sunday, October 28, family, friends, and faculty gathered at Gloucester Gate to celebrate BADA’s Co-Founder and long-time Associate Director, Carolyn Sands, as she stepped down from regular duties at BADA, after 35 years.

Managing Director Tim Denham spoke about Carolyn’s time at BADA and her generous spirit, which the Academy will strive to embody. An excerpt of his remarks is below:

The brainchild of Carolyn and Tony Branch, some of you here will remember that the combination of Tony’s drive and vision and Carolyn’s moderating influence kept BADA afloat and thriving, through the years when it was trying to get established.

Anyone who has been on a BADA program in its 35 years will have had the privilege of knowing Carolyn. Many students have had personal experience of her endless capacity for caring, when needing medical attention and protracted visits to hospitals.

She has a generosity of spirit, in abundance which has inspired teachers, governors, staff and students over the years. BADA is felt by many students and their parents to be a family. This is very much down to Carolyn’s influence.

Now she has decided to step down from her day to day duties, she has earned a good rest. Not very likely, I know. She has family and other pursuits to keep her busy!

We will miss her hugely but happily she will continue to pop in and to help us in several ways.

Carolyn. You’ve been a huge part of our lives for so long. Long may it continue!

Some photos from Carolyn’s 35 years with BADA:


A longer profile of Carolyn will appear in the next edition of the BADA newsletter. In the meantime, if you would like to honor Carolyn in her retirement, she has asked that donations be made to the Actors’ Children’s Trust, which you may do here.

Here’s what a few of the recent donors to the Trust had to say about Carolyn’s impact:

She is so much the spirit of BADA and her kindness and wisdom will continue to inspire us.

Nobody has been more caring of teachers, students and all in our theatre community. Thank you Carolyn.

Dear Carolyn , you are a very special lady . You have my admiration my best wishes and love.

An Evening with Justin Theroux (BCP ’91)

American Friends of BADA President Lydia Carlston (MIO ’01) welcomed BADA friends, supporters, faculty, and alumni to an intimate evening in her home for a festive cocktail party featuring a conversation with alumnus Justin Theroux (BCP ’91). Justin chatted with Dean Eunice Roberts about his training and education; his acting work, including his recent work on Netflix’s Maniac; and his work behind the scenes as a producer and screenwriter of films such as Tropic Thunder and Iron Man 2.


Photo Credit: Carl L Smith for Grindkings Photography

PRESS: Denzel Washington discusses Chadwick Boseman

Denzel Washington chats with Stephen Colbert about having provided a scholarship for Chadwick Boseman (MIO ’98) to attend our Midsummer in Oxford Program. Chadwick was part of a group of ten students from Howard University who attended MIO with the support of Phylicia Rashad, Denzel Washington, and other donors. That summer solidified our relationship with Howard University that was originally established by the legendary Howard Theater Professor Henrietta Edmonds.

This relationship continues to this day as twelve students from Howard are currently attending the Midsummer in Oxford program!

June 2018 Newsletter

In this issue of the BADA Newsletter: an interview with theatre critic and Faculty member Sarah Hemming; a conversation with alum Jack Smart (SHX ’10), the Awards Editor for Backstage Magazine; a round of 20 questions to get to know new staff member Maya Celano; photos from the Spring 2018 London Theatre Program productions.




Farewell, John Barton

We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of John Barton yesterday. A BADA Associate Artist and long-time Masterclass instructor, John shared his love for and understanding of Shakespeare’s texts, particularly the Sonnets, with our students for more than two decades. A co-founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company, John trained and directed many of the modern masters of Shakespeare performance; his legacy, his influence on our understanding of Shakespeare, and his impact on the acting profession are immense.

Read the New York Times‘ obituary of John here.

Photo: John Barton leads a Masterclass in Sonnets at Midsummer in Oxford with guests Harriet Walter and Jane Lapotaire.


Remembering Oleg Tabakov

Faculty member Irina Brown has shared with us the sad news that former Faculty member Oleg Tabakov passed away in Moscow yesterday. Oleg had a long history with BADA, first teaching on Midsummer in Oxford at Balliol College in 1988. Oleg was a guest of honour at the 1988 Open Day Dinner, along with BADA Patron Peggy Ashcroft, where he gave a moving and memorable speech about Russia and Glasnost. During that summer, Oleg met Brian Cox and invited him to direct “The Crucible” at the Moscow Arts Theatre School, where he was the (much-loved) Director.

After Midsummer in Oxford, BADA brought Oleg to New York for the Midsummer with Moscow Program, where students studied Chekhov with Oleg and Shakespeare with Rosemary Harris. In September of 1988, students from Moscow Arts came to London to work with Brian Cox and Deborah Warner. A fundraising gala was held at the Barbican with leading British and Russian actors, and the Moscow Arts students performed. Oleg himself gave a wonderful performance as Malvolio.

In the Fall of 1989, Moscow Arts Theatre School and BADA brought the production of “The Crucible” to the Assembly Rooms as part of the Edinburgh Festival; the production then transferred to Riverside Studios in London, where Prince Edward was the guest of honour on opening night.

Among his many accomplishments, Oleg was named a “People’s Artist of the USSR” in 1988 and served as the Artistic Director of the Moscow Art Theater for almost 20 years.

Oleg Tabakov was an inspiring, charismatic and unforgettable person. He was a wonderful Director and Teacher and will be greatly missed‎.

Read the New York Times obituary of Oleg: Oleg Tabakov, Revered Russian Actor and Teacher, Is Dead at 82

Photo: Alec Guinness and Oleg Tabakov at Balliol College during Midsummer in Oxford 1988

January 2018 Newsletter

In this issue of the BADA Newsletter: an interview with alumna Gerit Quealy (MIO ’94), about her new book Botanical Shakespeare; an interview with new BADA Faculty member Gareth Armstrong about solo performance; a Farewell to long-time BADA Masterclass instructor John Barton; and Remembering BADA Governor Honorable Justice Anthony Colman.

An Evening with Tarell Alvin McCraney (MIO ’05)

American Friends of BADA President, Lydia Carlston (MIO ’01) hosted a fundraising evening at her home featuring BADA alumnus and Academy Award winner Tarell Alvin McCraney in conversation with BADA’s former Dean & Director Ian Wooldridge. Tarell shared stories about his life and childhood, his experience at BADA, and his work.

August 2017 Newsletter

In this issue of the BADA Newsletter: Faculty member Eunice Roberts appointed Dean of BADA; Norman AyrtonRequiescat in pace; “An Accountant’s life for me” – an interview with Managing Director Tim Denham; a conversation with alum Rob Adler (MIO ’94).

Eunice Roberts appointed Dean of BADA

BADA is pleased to announce that the Governors have appointed Eunice Roberts to be sole Dean of BADA from 1st September 2017.

In her 10 months as Joint Dean, Eunice has impressed all she has met and has demonstrated that she has a widerange of skills, a host of contacts and many ideas for the future. There is no doubt that she will continue to make an enormous contribution to BADA.

Simultaneously, Christopher Cook will become Associate Dean until December 2017. Thereafter he will act in an advisory role which we very much hope will continue well into the future.




Norman Ayrton – Requiescat in pace

“It is with deep sorrow that we record the death of Norman Ayrton peacefully in his sleep at the age of 92. Christopher Cook, who recorded an oral history with Norman, was a colleague for over fifteen years.”

No Norman Ayrton, no BADA. It’s as simple as that. As the Academy’s first Dean it was Norman who created the London Theatre Program syllabus that broadly speaking we still follow. It was Norman who insisted that along with Movement and Voice and Acting Shakespeare there had to be Theatre History and Dramatic Criticism. And, of course, acting for High Comedy which he himself delighted in teaching.

It was a source of infinite pleasure to him when a student finally mastered a scene from The Beaux Strategem or his most favourite play Congreve’s The Way of the World. And mastery included the props, which were as much the character as the lines. A cane was never just a cane when Norman was directing and a fan for much more than for keeping cool.

Norman’s standards were exacting and had been moulded by his time at the Old Vic School after the Second World War. A reluctant actor, you sensed, he had found his metier as a teacher, whether it was the great soprano Joan Sutherland who became a friend, or students at LAMDA, Juilliard, The Royal Academy of Music or at BADA in the final chapter of his professional life.

He loved his students, the ‘kids’ as he called them. Or most of them, and in return they admired and respected him. For his faculty colleagues he will be an irreplaceable presence in the office common room where he offered wise advice and presided over the gossip. And, let it be said, raided the chocolate biscuit tin. I hope that where he’s gone to is a place that welcomes the sweet toothed. And understands the art of holding a fan!

Read The Stage‘s obituary of Norman here.

March 2017 Newsletter

In this issue of the BADA Newsletter: an interview with new Shakespeare instructor Paul O’Mahony about the Year Long London Theatre Program; introducing BADA’s new Brand and Website; Photos from the new LTP Acting for Film & Screen course!

Midsummer in Oxford Alum Tarell Alvin McCraney wins an Oscar!

Congratulations to Tarell Alvin McCraney (MIO ’05) who won for Best Adapted Screenplay for Moonlight, which was based on his play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue.


BADA Newsletter Archive

For editions of the BADA newsletter from 2014 – 2016, please visit the BADA Press Room Archive or click the links below:

BADA Newsletter November 2016

BADA Newsletter June 2016

BADA Newsletter February 2016

BADA Newsletter September 2015

BADA Newsletter May 2015

BADA Newsletter January 2015

BADA Newsletter October 2014

BADA Newsletter May 2014 

Alan Rickman: actor, master teacher, dear friend

The BADA family is deeply saddened by the death of Alan Rickman, a long-time friend and frequent Masterclass instructor.

Click here to read The Guardian‘s obituary of Alan.