Shelagh Elliott-Clarke 1901-1974


Our History


Shelagh Elliott-Clarke, the daughter of a wine merchant’s clerk from Birkenhead, was born in 1905; one year after the Imperial Society of Dance Teachers (ISTD) was founded.


She became an influential character, along with Zelia Raye, Janet Cram, Marjorie Davies and Olive Ripman, contributing to the birth of the Modern Theatre Faculty in 1932 and making it the jewel in the crown of the ISTD. Miss Clarke was chairman of the Modern Theatre Faculty from 1970 until her untimely death in 1974. She had a varied and relentless career in performing arts, but her first love was teaching.


The Shelagh Elliott-Clarke School of Dance and Dramatic Art was established in 1925, making us one of the oldest theatre schools in the world. As a formidable and well-respected woman in the world of the arts and entertainment in the mid-twentieth century, she tirelessly expanded her vocational school and college into one of the most famous and successful training facilities in the country.


From 1974 until her retirement in 2003, Miss Annette Thompson continued the work of Miss Clarke and the school went from strength to strength with a reputation of producing highly polished talented students who have taken the name of Shelagh Elliott-Clarke around the globe.


Principal Suzanne Sharkey


In 2003, Suzanne Sharkey became only the third Principal of the school in 90 years. Miss Sharkey has overseen the move to state of the art studios and has introduced a range of new classes to reflect the changing landscape of the modern entertainment world.


Shelagh Elliott-Clarke Performing Arts has a rich history in Liverpool and we love to hear your stories and experiences.

  • What memories do you have?

  • Where are you now?

  • What teachers can you remember?

Please get in touch, it would be great to hear from you!


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