Our Founder

Our Founder

January 1928 – February 2004

Remembered with love, admiration and respect by everyone who knew her as a teacher and a friend. We strive to attain the high standards she established.

In 1946, at the age of 18, Doreen Bird founded the Doreen Bird College of Performing Arts which trades as Bird College – Dance, Music and Theatre Performance. As well as her unwavering commitment to achieving high standards in dance and theatre performance for her college, Doreen Bird was also an active and much respected teacher, examiner, committee and council member of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing. She was appointed examiner of the ISTD Modern Theatre Branch in 1957, National Dance Branch one year later and Imperial Ballet Branch in 1964. Doreen was a committee member of the Modern Theatre Branch from 1970 for 16 years. She examined in Great Britain, Canada and South Africa, and co-authored a range of syllabi for the ISTD at all grades. Doreen also served as ISTD Council member from 1970 to 1975. She received the Imperial Faculty Award in 1996. She was also a life member of the Royal Academy of Dance and was influential in the examination of dance nationally and internationally.

Ever the pioneer, Doreen initiated and co-wrote the BA Hons in Dance and Theatre Performance for Bird College for which she later received an Honorary MA for her outstanding services to the education of dance and theatre performance. Doreen remained Principal until her retirement in 1998, she then became a trustee of the Doreen Bird Charitable Foundation and subsequently a Non Executive Director of the Doreen Bird College of Performing Arts Ltd; a not for profit organisation wholly owned by the Charitable Foundation. Her death in 2004 was untimely and of great sadness to all who knew her. Many of Doreen’s graduates remain highly successful within the field of performing arts, as artists, educators, choreographers and directors. This is testament to Doreen’s passion, commitment and contribution to dance and theatre performance.

Today Bird College has over sixty years of experience in providing vocational training for young people who wish to pursue a career in dance and musical theatre, and many of its graduates can be seen performing in musicals, television and dance companies around the world. The College recruits nationally and internationally and auditions more than 1250 candidates each year for 100 places.

Thanks to the commitment of Doreen Bird the College in Sidcup, Kent is now internationally recognised as a centre of excellence. In 2007 the College was appointed to work with Bexley Council in delivering a new music service to schools and residents of the Borough as well as the Junior Dance School. The College continues to build on the strong foundations and the high standards established by Doreen Bird.