The West End star has announced plans to open CAST, a new drama school offering a three-year diploma in Musical Theatre Industry Preparation.

With the first intake of pupils to join the school from September 2023, it has also been announced that there will be no application charges for a limited time only.

As principal, Ruthie and her team will have a sharp focus on students’ individual strengths and work to develop these through industry relevant training, to arm them with all the necessary skills to survive in the evolving and competitive industry. Training will begin with musical theatre basics including: Core Acting Techniques, Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Estill Vocal Technique, Vocal Repertoire and Ensemble Singing.

Each term will feature workshops and masterclasses from high level professionals, including CAST Icons and as the course progresses each pathway will become more detailed and bespoke to each performer. There will also be attention paid to providing hands-on support and pastoral care to students in practical self-management, surviving as a freelancer, managing social media, and many of the other facets that make up a strong and determined modern performer. 

The course is three years, with three terms each year – with enough spaces for a maximum of 25 students per year at a cost of £10,000 per annum.

Henshall has brought in a variety of industry icons to develop the project and said, “the world is changing, as is the industry.  A major part of our training at CAST is about staying relevant within a business that continues to shift daily. I am lucky enough to have been able to call on an illustrious panel of rising stars and musical theatre legends to develop a course and ethos that best serves our students as they start their journeys in this new world.  Our “Icons” will remain at the heart of what we do, whether this is offering their invaluable personal experiences to inform our curriculum or teaching regular workshops and taking Q&A’s, making them part of our extended faculty.We want our students to have the opportunity to work alongside, to learn and to grow with a team of talented, successful, and extraordinary artists.  Who better to guide them than the people who are currently working in the industry that they aspire to join”

Leading CAST Icon, Claude Michel Schonberg (Composer of Les Misérables and Miss Saigon), has pledged to run termly masterclasses with students, in person, and has said about the course, “only practical experience in our industry can give you a complete understanding of what it takes to succeed and sustain a career in the world of musical theatre. With strong ties to industry professionals and Ruthie at the helm, this is what CAST will offer all its students.”

CAST will be based outside of London in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, and is the brainchild of Ruthie Henshall and her long-time business partner & Musical Supervisor, Paul Schofield. They have drafted in the experienced educator, Gary Willis (creator of numerous, successful drama programmes in both Europe and the US) to head up the academic in-house staff. 

To find out more and to apply visit:


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