We have a rich history going back over 50 years.

Our founder, Leonie Urdang moved to London from South Africa to escape the social effects that Apartheid had on people of all classes and ethnicities.

When Leonie started the Urdang Academy in 1970 her vision was to break barriers that segregated the dance world, which at that time only accepted a particular type of person with a certain look. She looked beyond the surface and saw the individual, laying this as the founding ethos of her school.

The only thing that has changed since then is that the theatre world has caught up with that vision. Increasingly shows are about characters and personalities – dancers that can sing or singer-actors that can dance – and the performers in demand are those whose personality (combined with talent) shine out.

With Solange Urdang taking over from her mother in 2001, Urdang stayed true to its founding vision, constantly seeking opportunities to revitalise and cement diversity and inclusivity in new and exciting ways.

Urdang today

Urdang is now recognised as one of the UK’s finest performing arts colleges with an international reputation. Our graduates are highly sought after by the industry, many get roles in leading West End shows.

Following City, University of London’s acquisition of Urdang in 2022, Urdang joined the renowned Department of Music at City to form a new Department of Performing Arts.

The newly created Department of Performing Arts is part of an ambitious new strategy to enhance and develop City’s reputation for music and its engagement with practice and the creative industries and sits in the School of Communication and Creativity.

City’s long-term commitment to Urdang will be supported by investment in its students, staff and facilities and a commitment to growth.

“This is an exciting development for City, and we are delighted to welcome Urdang staff and degree students to our family.

Our shared ethos and ambition make City and Urdang a powerful combination and provides a strong foundation for the further development of the Academy.

Urdang has a formidable reputation for the performing arts, which we will protect and develop, and co-location with our fantastic music staff and students and access to our campus presents many exciting development opportunities.”

City’s President, Professor Sir Anthony Finkelstein

Our People

Our people have helped to create our legacy as a top-tier casting performing arts college.

Meet our people