Press Room

BADA Newsletter June 2016


British American Drama Academy Newsletter

June 2016

Ian Wooldridge - Dean and Director of BADA


Click for Slideshow
 Click above for some photos of Ian at BADA over the years!

“Au Revoir” Ian
It’s difficult to believe that Ian’s time at the helm of BADA will come to an end in August.
Ian has steered BADA for 20 years and has earned the respect and friendship of his colleagues.
Students too have expressed their gratitude for Ian’s inspirational teaching and his directing of over 30 productions. Years later, many still recall with real pleasure what they experienced under his influence at BADA. He took the programs to new levels by conducting auditions for all places and by broadening the demographic and ethnic diversity of the student body; achievements for which he can feel justifiably proud. His Modern Workshop productions in the London Theatre Program Spring semester have provided some of the most memorable journeys for the year-long students fortunate enough to experience them.
We wish Ian well wherever his career takes him in the future.
In the words of the man himself: “Remember it’s never goodbye, it’s always “au revoir”.” We certainly hope so.
With love and respect from all his friends at BADA.

BADA in the News

Dean & Director Ian Wooldridge's spring audition tour workshop at North Carolina A&T was featured in the Greensboro News & Record! In the piece, Ian talks auditioning, how Frankie Day helped to expand his outreach workshops to include NCA&T, and how he'll miss visiting US colleges for BADA's auditions and outreach. You can read the article on the News & Record website.

Meet the new President of American Friends of BADA: Lydia Carlston (MIO '01)

Lydia Carlston
Lydia Carlston

We are pleased to announce that the American Friends of BADA has elected Lydia Carlston (MIO ‘01) as President of the Board of Directors.  Lydia joined the Board of AFBADA in 2012 at the request of Ian Wooldridge and assumed the role of President this past January.  Lydia is a model and actress whose body of work ranges from theatre to television, voiceovers, national and international commercials, print ads and fashion runways between Paris, London, New York, Cote D’Ivoire and Tokyo. Her television credits include Sex and the City and Star Trek: DS9. Her fashion work can be seen in Vogue, Essence, Le Jardin de Mode (France), Donna (Italy) and French Elle, as well as Family Life Magazine, Self Magazine and several on-camera and commercial print advertisements. She is an active member of SAG / AFTRA and the Actor’s Equity Association.

With AFBADA Board Member Lawrence Merritt (MIO '01)

With Masterclass Instructor Alan Rickman

Lydia was a dance major at the Philadelphia H.S. School for the Creative and Performing Arts. While working as a model and actress, she continued studies at NYU in the area of marketing music and entertainment and theatre studies with Irene Moore who introduced her to Shakespeare. In 2001 she attended BADA’s Midsummer in Oxford Program.  “BADA completely changed my view of the craft and opened my eyes to a world of possibilities that had never been presented before. Having teachers like Alan Rickman and Fiona Shaw, in addition to the vocal coach of the Royal Shakespeare Company and physical theatre taught by Mick Barnfather of Complicite, was mind-blowing and magical! Lessons learned that summer, are applied to my current work. BADA is where I found my voice, for that I am eternally grateful.”

Growing up surrounded by talented artists, actors, and jazz musicians in her family, Lydia is a firm believer that the arts should be an integral part of life and that its benefits are far-reaching and enriching for all. Her three daughters have been exposed to the arts from birth. The oldest is a singer / songwriter and majored in theatre at USC, her middle daughter is a gifted classical piano player, and the youngest is studying African dance. Lydia is married to Mats G. Carlston, a partner at Winston & Strawn, LLP (who also happens to be a good piano player) and lives in Greenwich Village.  

She hopes that her work with the American Friends of BADA can take BADA’s fundraising efforts to a new level, increasing the scholarship fund to ensure that the most talented candidates are able to participate on BADA’s programs, regardless of their financial circumstances. She also hopes to continue the work begun by Ian Wooldridge promoting diversity within the BADA student body.

Did You Know? BADA's Superheroes (& Villains)!

Pop culture is currently saturated with superheroes: multiplexes, tv networks, even theatres are full of superpowered characters battling to save the city (or the world)! Those projects are also filled with something else: BADA alums and faculty! Here are some of our family who have donned superhero masks or lent their support to try to save the world (and a few who are trying to destroy it). If you're not up to date on your comic book adaptations, beware of spoilers below:

Chadwick Boseman (MIO '98) recently debuted as the Black Panther in Marvel's Captain America: Civil War. Chadwick is set to appear in at least five MCU films. Next up, he'll star in Black Panther, due out in 2018.

Paul Rudd (MIO '93) starred as Marvel's smallest hero in the 2015 summer blockbuster Ant-Man. Paul's character just appeared in the recent Captain America: Civil War and will return to his own franchise in 2018 for Ant-Man and the Wasp.

Brett Dalton (MIO '09) has been a regular on ABC's Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. since the show debuted in 2013, portraying Grant Ward, a HYDRA operative who infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. to destroy it from within. 

Michael James Shaw (MIO '08) had a recurring role as the immortal Papa Midnite, the Voodoo King of News Orleans, in Constantine, NBC's adaptation of the popular DC Hellblazer comic series, that ran from 2014 - 2015. 

TJ Miller (MIO '00) debuted in February as Weasel, as the hero's best friend and  sidekick (and arms dealer) in the box office juggernaut Deadpool


Colby Minifie (MIO '14) was a recurring character in the first season of Netflix's Jessica Jones, based on Marvel's Alias comic series. Colby played Robyn, Jessica's upstairs neighbor who gets caught up in the chaos surrounding Jessica's investigation.

Rosemary Harris (Faculty) appeared in the early wave of superhero blockbusters in the early aughts, starring in Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, and Spider-Man 3 as Peter Parker's Aunt May.


Peter Francis James (Faculty) made multiple appearances in the DC comics TV universe this television season, appearing on both the CW's Arrow and DC's Legends of Tomorrow as Prof. Aldus Boardman, a classics professor and the son of Hawkman and Hawkgirl.


AFBADA at Hamilton

Hamilton stars (John Laurens/Philip Hamilton) and Daveed Diggs (Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson)
Dean & Director Ian Wooldridge with alum & Hamilton star Philippa Soo.
Alum Toney Brown (MIO '12), Ian Wooldridge, and alum and AFBADA Board Member Stephen Driscoll (MIO '12)

The American Friends of BADA had a phenomenally successful event at Hamilton in New York City on March 10th. Fifty supporters, friends, and alumni joined Dean & Director Ian Wooldridge for the mega-hit Broadway show, followed by a talkback with alum and star (and newly-minted Tony nominee!) Philippa Soo (MCP ’07), with her costars Daveed Diggs and Anthony Ramos; the incredible evening helped to raise scholarship funds to support our students.


London Theatre Program Spring 2016 Productions

In April, our London Theatre Program students ended their term with three productions performed at the Oval House Theatre in London. Click on the images below to see the full albums on Facebook.

All's Well that Ends Well
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Oedipus at Colonus

Upcoming Events

Please join us in Los Angeles on June 23rd for BADA at the Gardenia - a special evening of songs by BADA alumni, family and friends at the Gardenia Lounge. Click here for reservations & more information.


Two of our alums were nominated for 2016 Tony Awards: Philippa Soo (MCP '07) was nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical for her portrayal of Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton in Hamilton and Brandon Victor Dixon (MIO '98) was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical for his portrayal of Eubie Blake in Shuffle Along, Or The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That FollowedMiriam A. Hyman (MIO ’10), Sheria Irving (MIO ’11), Robert David Grant (MIO ’12), and Chalia LaTour (MIO ’14) were all part of the cast of Yale Rep’s production of Cymbeline in New Haven, CT. TJ Miller (MIO ’00) starred in the blockbuster action comedy DeadpoolDavid Schwimmer (MIO ’85) was one of the stars of the FX’s TV series The People v. O.J. Simpson, portraying Robert Kardashian. Max Thomas (MIO ’13) appeared in Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s production of Othello directed by Jonathan Munby at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier. Stefanie Zadravec’s (LTP ’89) newest play Colony Collapse had its world premiere at the Boston Court Performing Arts Center in Pasadena, CA. Tarell Alvin McCraney’s (MIO ’05) play Head of Passes, starring Phylicia Rashad and featuring alum Francois Battiste (MIO ’05), opened at the Public Theatre in New York City.