This week members of the public were given a glimpse inside the new £28.2m extension at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA).
One of the world’s leading drama schools opened its doors to its new facilities at a Community Day held on Sunday (September 17).
It follows a construction process that took more than two years , but has seen the academy benefit with new theatre halls, studios, a library and much more.
Among those at the forefront of the fundraising driver was west London megastar Benedict Cumberbatch .
Cumberbatch is one of a number of famous faces to have studied at the internationally renowned LAMDA, located in Talgarth Road, Hammersmith .
Here we take a look just some of the stars from screen and stage who were helped on their way to fame and stardom by a drama school in west London.
Born and raised in Kensington , the journey to Hammersmith was not too far for young Cumberbatch, and it set him on the path to superstardom.
His breakthrough role came playing sleuth Sherlock in the hit BBC show of the same name.
Among the many films he’s appeared in are The Imitation Game, where he received an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Alan Turing, and 12 Years A Slave, where he starred with Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Which leads us nicely on to...
With just a year separating them in age, there’s a very good chance Ejiofor and Cumberbatch studied at LAMDA together.
Ejiofor won an Oscar for playing Solomon Northup in 12 Years A Slave, which also saw Academy Awards success for director Steve McQueen, who was born and raised in Ealing .
He also starred in Doctor Strange with Cumberbatch and has appeared in other films including The Martian and Dirty Pretty Things.
A British film, theatre and TV legend.
In a career spanning five decades, she was a member of Laurence Olivier’s National Theatre Company at the Old Vic from 1971–73 and also of the Royal Shakespeare Company.
She appeared in a number of sitcoms including Agony, where she first gained prominence in the 1970s, and in films including Roman Polanski’s The Pianist.
Personally, I’ll always remember her as the lovable granny in the 1980s BT adverts!
Not the charming yet ubiquitous D:Ream keyboard player-turned-physicist, we’re talking about the original Hannibal Lecter here.
Cox played the infamous genius with a penchant for human flesh in Manhunter.
A great of the stage, he gained recognition for his portrayal of King Lear, and appeared in the Jason Bourne movies and Braveheart.
The Spooks star was born in nearby Richmond and has received nominations for BAFTA and Olivier awards.
She made her name in Kavanagh QC and then in Spooks.
She played Questular Rontok in the 2005 film The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
If you haven’t seen The Devil’s Double, you should. Based on true events, it tells the story of a man forced to become the double of Saddam Hussein’s sadistic son Uday and sees Cooper play both roles.
He also played Jesse Cluster in the screen adaptation of the brilliantly violent, disturbing and funny Preacher graphic novel series.
And it so happens that he lives with actress Ruth Negga, whose character Tulip O’Hare provides the love interest for Cooper’s Cluster.
My first recollection of him is playing bent cop Slade in Only Fools and Horses.
But this fine actor went on to win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 2002 for Iris. He also picked up a Golden Globe for his part.
Younger readers will recognise him as Professor Slughorn from Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, and also from Paddington.
With a career starting off in the West End, you may recognise this actress from the hit BBC sitcom Miranda.
A rarity on this list, as he’s not British!
The American also has the rare gift of being a comedian who is more than capable of playing a baddie, as his turns in Cliffhanger and Dexter prove.
You may recognise this Hounslow-born actress from the long-running Malteser adverts, but she also plays the long-suffering and totally inept department head in The IT Crowd .
She also co-starred in Humans.
A TV legend who stared in one of my favourite shows as a kid - The Professionals.
He also plays Judge John Deed in the TV show of the same name, and Inspector George Gently, in which he also plays the lead character.
There’s more to this actor than Monsieur Hercule Poirot and his funny moustache.
Suchet is a fine stage actor and recently starred in the BBC1 adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s Decline and Fall.
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