RIDLEY Studios will open its doors for the first time to full-time sixth-form musical theatre and acting students in September.

Teaching at the studios is currently just evenings at weekends, but having been granted accreditation this can now be extended to full-time education.

Founded in 1955, Ridley Studios is a fully accredited centre with Edexcel, which is an internationally recognised examining body.

From September, it will be able to offer full-time education for Btec extended national diplomas in either musical theatre or acting.

Joe Elliott, principal of the school, has made some radical changes since taking over in 2010.

Having been granted accreditation last year, the school moved from Leigh Road, Leigh, to Hamlet Court Road, Westcliff, this year to allow enough space for full-time students. Joe says: “We are excited to be able to offer students the opportunity to learn here full-time.

“We have fantastic premises and a team of 20 qualified teachers who have experience and still work in the business.”

Joe believes it is the perfect stop-gap for youngster wanting to break into the industry.

He says: “The learning environment is vibrant and intense. We want to give the students the best preparation they can get for auditioning for drama school.

“We will give them a well-rounded education and skills that could set them up for life.”

For more information, visit www.ridleystudios.org, e-mail info@ridleystudios. org or call 01702 473137.