Wednesday 12 June 2024
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Nottingham performing arts school celebrates 50 years with show weekend

One of the most successful performing arts schools in the East Midlands is marking its 50th anniversary with a celebratory show weekend (Sat 10 Feb – Sun 11 Feb).


The Rollo Academy of Performing Arts 50th anniversary show will see current and former students come together to perform the school’s most iconic dance, song and musical numbers created over the last five decades to pay tribute to the school’s founder Miss Susan Rollo, who was herself once invited to dance in front of Princess Margaret.

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The school at around 1980

Many of the school’s alumni have gone on to feature in West End shows and UK tours; performed with some huge recording artists; toured internationally and worked with all the foremost cruise ships on their spectacular inhouse entertainment. 

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Susan Rollo

The school is proud of all the students who have passed through their doors since ‘Miss Susan’ opened her own school The Rollo Academy of Dancing, in 1974 on Upper Parliament Street, Nottingham at age 24, with just four students and pregnant with her first child. 

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An important presence at the school to the current day and still actively teaching, Susan grew the school quickly over the years and it became home to hundreds of students from all over the East Midlands. 

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She started dancing at four years old in Nottingham with teacher Brenda Towle and from age seven studied under Sheila Tozer where she took exams in ballet, tap, modern theatre, greek, national, ballroom, Latin American and classes in drama and singing. She began teaching aged 18 and gained teaching qualifications in all dance subjects.  She also took part in the prestigious ALL England Competitions and won choreographic awards for solo and group performances..

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In 1990, Susan gained her Fellowship Modern teaching qualification with the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing and became an Associate of the Royal Academy of Dance. She is now a Life Member with both Societies and continues to enter students into exams.


Susan’s two daughters both danced at the school until 16 before embarking on their vocational training and professional careers spanning more than 15 years. Today, both Samantha and Gemma Rollo teach alongside their mum, and as a family they have created one of the most successful performing arts schools in the region.

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Samantha Rollo said: “We’re so proud of our mum and what she has achieved with the school and the wonderful opportunities it has given to so many of our students who wanted to go to have a professional performing arts career. We can’t wait to see everyone at the show so we can pay tribute and share in the legacy she began 50 years ago.”


In 2008 the school moved to Alfred Street South near Sneinton Market and after introducing singing and drama was renamed the Rollo Academy of Performing Arts.


Tickets for the four shows at Djanogly Theatre, Sherwood Rise, Nottingham, NG7 7AR are available for the public to purchase.

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