Established in 1881 by William Webster, the Conservatoire is part of the oldest surviving purpose-built cultural complex in London, and a vibrant and much-loved local institution. It was founded to provide art, music and drama education to the community, who purchased bonds to help to finance it, and its values remain those of Creativity, Quality and Community.
The Conservatoire is the focus of arts education and events in South East London and provides exceptional lifelong learning. We welcome around 2000 students a week, either to one of the 180+ courses we run each term, or to receive individual tuition (of which we offer over 20 different types). Our courses are carefully designed to grow and adapt to users’ needs, helping them on their creative journey. You’ll find you can learn almost any instrument; act, play or sing in a wonderful variety of groups; paint, sculpt or print in our beautiful Victorian life drawing studio…the list goes on…
In addition to termly tuition, we also offer holiday courses and special events. These events include children’s art, drama and music classes; Family Jazz concerts and teenage Masterclasses with Joe Thompson and other fabulous professional Jazz artists; students’ concerts and exhibitions, one-off arts and craft/lifestyle classes for adults; and our annual festive season, including fake snow and a giant igloo. These welcome another 7000 people per year!
The quality of the arts that we offer remains at the centre of our mission – all of our teachers are professional musicians, artists and performers, trained at the best schools, and also inspiring teachers. As a charity we are also very aware of our place in the local community and our desire to further diversify and broaden our audience group. We hope to inspire you to discover more and then to continue to do so every time you enter our buildings!
Here are just a few reasons why we are so unique!
1. We are part of the oldest surviving purpose–built cultural complex in London, founded by locals 135 years ago to provide art and music to the community of South East London. Our values remain those of Creativity, Quality and Community.
2. We are a charity continuing to strive to make art, music and drama appealing and accessible. We offer bursaries to students who may otherwise be unable to afford our courses.
3. Our classes and lessons are unique locally – across the spectrum of the arts you can learn and be guided by practising artists, musicians and actors, selected for their quality. They share their experience, as well as their teaching ability
4. Our Early Years classes follow a bespoke programme devised by our performers who are also Early Years specialists. Small groups allow your child to blossom.
5. Our facilities are fantastic! Create your own pieces in one of the country’s last remaining purpose–built Victorian art studios, flooded with natural light and inspiration!
6. Whether you are 0 or 100, we have a special offering just for you! Art, music and drama classes; Ensembles, choirs and orchestras; Individual tuition, group lessons or supportive peer masterclasses; we have it all.
7. We are a community meeting point and home to the Creativity Garden and the Brockley Deli, the most accessible café in Blackheath, offering delicious food.
8. We programme termly courses, holiday courses and one–off events. If you are too busy to commit to a course, dip into family jazz concerts, exhibitions and workshops, many for free. Check our website for details.
9. Alumni include Kate Bush, Daniel Day Lewis and Douglas Bliss. Follow in their footsteps or simply unleash your inner creativity. The choice is yours!