Welcome to Sharjah Performing Arts Academy (SPAA). SPAA is a place where invention and reinvention is at the heart of everything we do. Invention requires many ingredients, including imagination, skills, and talent.

I have been teaching and training actors, performers, and theatre technicians for more than 30 years. My work as CEO of Guildford School of Acting, as a consultant to various drama schools and courses, and my lead role as Chair of the Conference of Drama Schools, has lead me to this unique, extraordinary opportunity to create a new performing arts academy.

There is a recent general assumption that talent is a gift that does not need developing or nurturing, and this myth is spread by the overabundance of talent shows across the world. In the world of performing arts talent is a starting point. Talent alone is not enough because it has no basis in knowledge or skill. Those who are truly gifted know there are hours of devotion, determination and practice, alongside absolute commitment to improvement, and a constant search for ways to sharpen one’s skills.

SPAA takes talented individuals and turns them into credible, professional performers, dancers, actors, designers, technicians and stage managers through a deep exploration of the world of drama. Becoming skilled professionals in this world requires hours of practice and dedication. Our outstanding new academy is a place that will nurture the skills of dedicated individuals and pave the way for a successful future on and off the world stage. We have set out to ensure that the most innovative teaching techniques will create Olympians of the performing arts world.

Some of the very best educators, directors, choreographers, designers, stage managers and theatre technicians from around the world will be employed to ensure every student, who is prepared to work for it, has the best chance of continuous and successful work in professional performing and production arts.

His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, had the vision to create a performing arts academy, which has everything a contemporary performing arts student would desire – two theatres, a gym and physio room, dance studios, acting studios, a fully equipped green screen television studio, an extensive reference and lending library, and much more, including onsite, student accommodation.

This unique, new academy will see performers and technicians hone their craft while receiving global qualifications in a world-class facility. At SPAA we welcome everyone from all backgrounds, and we celebrate the very best in professional preparation for the performing arts world. It is our mission to do as His Highness wished. To create a new theatre revolution, find common paths for the development of international theatre and performing arts, and to train and educate the new creative citizens of the world.

Peter Barlow FRSA