The South’s front runner in enabling personal excellence through
performance in a professional and nurturing environment
for students aged 3 – 19 years
‘Permission to Shine’
The Big Little Theatre School was co-founded in 1996 by Michelle Guy & Colin Billing and is highly regarded as a premier Theatre School specialising in Musical Theatre, Acting & Dance. The company is non-profit organisation and based in Bournemouth, Dorset. It now boasts a company of over 300 talented students between 3 and 19 and has attracted a highly qualified team of professional staff and directors, many of whom bring their expertise directly from the West End. An excellent reputation has been earned in the local and professional theatre world and good associations are maintained with London stage schools, celebrities and children’s charities for which the school has helped raise considerable sums of money. Higher levels of excellence are achieved every year with numbers limited to maintain the high standard of teaching.
‘The Big Little experience is very special and what you and your team give is immeasurable’
– Debbie Powell, Parent of Ellie Powell, a former student
BIGLITTLE trains students in all aspects of the performing arts and boasts an excellent team of highly qualified and motivated teachers, inspirational and creative Directors and Choreographers and a fantastic team of support and pastoral care staff. Many of the staff are current members of the profession and come direct to BIGLITTLE from work in the top levels of theatre and dance across the country. This gives BIGLITTLE students amazing access to the highest possible calibre of creative staff without having to travel to workshops or courses in London.
Big Little offers a wide range of weekday classes, holiday courses & workshops in musical theatre, acting, singing techniques and dance, catering for syllabus and non-syllabus study including the ‘Pre-stars’ aged 3-4 years old. Classes are available in Bournemouth and Ringwood. The styles of training vary according to the discipline taught and also the objective of the class. There are opportunities for students to take Acting and Speech & Drama examinations under the LAMDA syllabus and also the take RAD Ballet examinations but there is no pressure for any students to take an examination and we also offer internal BIGLITTLE assessments to help measure progress.
We welcome students of all abilities and aim to develop personal excellence through performance in a nurturing environment whether the student is seeking a career in the industry or pursuing performing arts as a hobby. We aim to give your child the confidence and self-belief to shine – a gift that will last a lifetime…
“I love everything about Big Little, and I always will”
-Emma James, Former student
BIGLITTLE has had the pleasure of teaching many aspiring performers over the years and it is testament to the teaching and ethos of the school that many consider BIGLITTLE to be like a family. Some students, lucky enough to win places at top theatre schools, go on to have successful careers in performing arts (Stage, film, T.V. Radio) and find time to come back to run workshops and teach. Other students have gone on to an array of successful careers utilising, amongst others, the skills taught at BIGLITTLE. Many past students perform together in concerts such as ‘ENCORE’ to raise funds for the school.
What classes are available?
BIGLITTLE runs a variety of weekday classes in Musical Theatre, Acting, Dance and Singing at Big Little Studios in Boscombe, Bournemouth and also at The Trinity Centre in Ringwood for students from the age of 3 up to 19. Big Little Youth Theatre Companies (Age 8+) run on a Saturday at the performing arts block, Bournemouth School for Girls, Bournemouth along with Dance classes for children from age 3 up to 7. Please see ‘Introduction to Classes’ for a brief overview of the type of classes we run and how the classes are structured. Please refer to the class descriptions and class list for full details of each class including venue, cost and time.
How do I choose a class?
Firstly start with the type of class you are interested in – Musical Theatre (Singing, Dance, Acting), Acting (LAMDA), Dance (Syllabus & Non-Syllabus), Singing or Youth Theatre. The categories are listed on the HOME PAGE and you will be guided through to the classes available for the age group you are looking for and be able to make an enquiry or book a trial in a class of your choice.
Read the class description to establish whether you think the class is of interest.
Please call the office on 01202 434499 to ask if you are not sure where to start or would like to discuss further details. We are always pleased to talk about suitable classes and are able to book you in for a free trial so that your child can come and join in the class and see if it’s the right fit. If it’s not suitable then we will suggest alternatives.
Free Class Trials & Enrolment
Once you have decided which class is of interest, please call the office on 01202 434499 to book in for a Free Trial. We will arrange a suitable date to come and join in the class which will give you and your child the opportunity to meet the teachers, find out more about BIGLITTLE and for us to assess if the class is right for your child. Once you decide you would to join we will enrol your child and send an invoice to your home address. We offer the option to pay the term fees in full or pay in three instalments over the term.
Big Little Uniform
For Free trials please wear stretchy comfortable clothes and bring soft shoes/trainers suitable for dance. Once you enrol in a class we can complete a uniform order form for items that BIGLITTLE sell and give you details for purchasing other items. Please see the Uniform list and Uniform order form for more information.
Big Little Stages and Ages
|BIG LITTLE STAGE||AGE RANGE||SCHOOL YEAR|
|Pre-Stars||3 – 4 years||Pre-School|
|Mini (Foundation)||5 – 8 years||Reception to Year 3|
|Junior||8 – 11 years||Year 4 to Year 6|
|Intermediate||12 – 14 years||Year 7 to Year 10|
|Senior/Advanced||14 – 16 years||Year 10 upwards|
|Senior/Advanced||16 – 19 years||Sixth Form and Gap year|
Introduction to Classes
Classes in Musical Theatre – Singing, Dancing and Acting – in one class are available at both Ringwood and Bournemouth from reception age (Age 4+) up to age 16. These classes are called THEATRE MACHINE (MINI, JUNIOR & INTERMEDIATE) and include a performance opportunity on stage annually and the option to follow the LAMDA syllabus for Acting. For Pre-School children we offer a PRE-STARS class – a creative and imaginative dance class for little ones. For students aged 8 plus, who would like to take performing to the next level, we offer YOUTH THEATRE.
Youth Theatre Companies
We offer four Saturday Youth Theatre companies; FOOTLIGHTS (8-11 year olds), LIMELIGHTS (12-15 year olds), STARLIGHTS (15-19 year olds) and PDP (16-19 year olds). PDP is a Professional Development Programme for students aspiring to train at top Theatre Schools with a view to a career in the industry. The students in each Company work on performance skills – Singing, Dancing & Acting – with a Musical Director and Choreographer covering Musical Theatre material. Students in Youth Theatre perform on stage twice a year at our ArtsFest event and also at The Pavilion Theatre, Bournemouth. There are often more performance opportunities throughout the year especially for the senior students.
For children aged 8+ we offer classes in ACTING following the LAMDA syllabus with the option to take examinations. The syllabus can be followed up to Grade 8 Gold and UCAS points are accredited from Grade 6 LAMDA upwards helping towards University entrance. Examinations are not compulsory for younger students. There is the opportunity to perform a showcase at our Grand Festival each year.
Dance – Big Little School of Dance
We offer a whole range of syllabus and non-syllabus Dance classes for students from age 3 – 19 with the option to take examinations in syllabus classes. Classes include RAD (Royal Academy of Dance) BALLET, ISTD TAP & MODERN, BOYS PERFORMANCE DANCE, GIRLS PERFORMANCE DANCE and PERFORMANCE BALLET classes. The performance dance classes cover different styles of dance including Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary and Musical Theatre.
On Saturday morning at Big Little Studios in Boscombe we run classes for younger children starting with PRE-STARS DANCE for ages 3-4 years offering an introduction to RAD (Royal Academy of Dance) Ballet, ISTD Tap & Modern, PRE-PRIMARY and PRIMARY DANCE continuing Ballet, Tap and Modern with the option to take examinations in RAD Ballet.
We run weekday classes in syllabus RAD BALLET from Grade 1 up to Grade 8, Inter Foundation and Pointe.
Dancers have the opportunity to perform a showcase on stage at our ArtsFest event depending on examination preparation work and entry.
Singing is an integral part of BIGLITTLE’S Musical Theatre classes but if you are looking for one to one tuition we offer private singing lessons on a Wednesday evening Ringwood and on Monday and Wednesday evening in Bournemouth. Younger children (Age 5 – 11) are offered weekly lessons following the ABRSM syllabus with the option to take examinations. Older children (Age 11+) are offered weekly lessons following the LAMDA Musical Theatre syllabus with the option to take examinations. Lessons are booked on a termly basis.
Singers have the opportunity to perform a showcase at our ArtsFest.
Summer Schools, Holiday Workshops & Master Classes
Each Summer BIGLITTLE runs a series of highly popular and successful Summer Schools. The Junior Summer school for students aged 5-11 have been in existence since the school started and have developed into a fantastic starting point for many students who have gone on to join the Youth Theatre. The Intermediate/Senior Summer School (Age 11+) is an opportunity for older students to have a week with a Musical Director and Choreographer developing skills covering West End and Broadway type material. Both Summer school weeks end with a showcase for parents.
BIGLITTLE also runs themed Holiday workshops for children aged 5-12 during Half Term weeks and also the Easter holidays. In addition to this we run throughout the year various one off events, workshops and master classes to enhance training. The workshops are open to BIGLITTLE students and to non-BIGLITTLE students who would like to experience what we have to offer.
Annual Summer Show
Each year BIGLITTLE Youth Theatre students (PDP, STARLIGHTS, LIMELIGHTS & FOOTLIGHTS) perform in our annual BIGLITTLE summer show ‘SHOWTUNES’ at The Pavilion Theatre, Bournemouth. The SHOWTUNES series started as a show entitled ‘Big Little Theatre School – In The Spotlight’ in 2001 and since then the ‘brand’ has evolved to become ‘SHOWTUNES’ which has provided over 800 students with wonderful performance opportunities witnessed by over 30,000 people. Big Little passionately believes in providing the best for our students and changes in the format of the show have increased the opportunities for each student and enabled us to use the talents and creativity of a number of top London based theatre professionals, directors, choreographers and actors to create and stage sections of the show. The result is a fantastic ‘West End’ or this year ‘Broadway!’ type show in which students have a very special performance opportunity.
Each year every BIGLITTLE student has the opportunity to perform on stage at our ArtsFest weekend in March at the De La Salle Theatre, Southbourne.
ArtsFest is the place where everyone involved in the school (Bournemouth and Ringwood) performs and comes together to celebrate and support the enormous talent of all the students in a friendly and nurturing environment. It is a lovely family event where a huge range of entertainment and showcases are scheduled over the two days to enjoy and there is also great hospitality including food, drinks, a licenced bar, fantastic cakes, games, raffle and more. We encourage all students and families to enjoy their own performance and also support fellow students and experience the full spectrum of training available at Big Little.
Vision is the performing name of the school’s PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME. Throughout the year VISION present a varied programme of musical theatre at concerts and events throughout Dorset & Hampshire often helping to raise money for charity. VISION has gained an excellent reputation by performing at prestigious events.
Concerts & other events
There are often performance opportunities that are advised to students and parents throughout the year.