The Independent newspaper reports that Stephen Dawson, chairman of the school, was threatened after founder Anna Scher was refused permission to return to her old job. She stepped down from her teaching job after over 30 years when a depression forced her to enter a hospital. She has now recovered, and her plight has attracted support from famous actors, including Kathy Burke and British TV star Ross Kemp. Some of her more aggressive supporters apparently issued threats that made Dawson feel in danger. Andy Smith, the school’s director, resigned only a few weeks before Mr. Dawson. Scher told the newspaper, “It would be wonderful to return. But if not, I will teach elsewhere.”
Alumni of the school include stage and screen stars such as Burke, Gary and Martin Kemp, Pauline Quirk, Gillian Taylforth, Linda Robson, Dexter Fletcher, Patsy Palmer and Naomie Harris. Opened in 1968 as an Islington school’s drama club, the theatre school preaches a policy of social inclusion and deliberately sets out to work with people from many cultural and social backgrounds.