About Us


Founded by Doris Holford 

The school was founded by the late Doris Holford in 1942. The first classes were taken in the front room of a house in Winchcombe road, Carshalton, when Miss Doris (as she was known) was a teenager.  

The school went on to grow during the forties and branches were opened in Culvers Avenue, Carshalton, Middleton Road, Morden, and Fair Green, Mitcham and then in the fifties, at North Mitcham, St Barnabas Church Hall, Mitcham and at Pollards Hill Community Centre also in Mitcham.  

After a very short illness, Miss Doris died in 1977 and a very gracious and talented lady was greatly missed by all who knew her.

The School was taken over by Miss Ann Smith. 

The year was 1945 and Miss Ann was a young child, just returned from evacuation, when her parents decided to send her to the local dancing school, which was then situated at the Fair Green in Mitcham (the little hall still stands today in asomewhat dilapidated state of repair) namely the Doris Holford Stage School. So following in the theatrical profession of her grandparents, off she went to classes in her red tunic and white satin blouse (the uniform of the time) and loved each and every lesson that was given by the late Doris Holford.  

Her first show was performed in the tiny Merton Hall in South Wimbledon, and from then, at St. Mary's Church Hall in Clapham, Battersea Town Hall and Wimbledon Town Hall (now replaced by the Centre Court shopping precinct. In the early fifties she auditioned for pantomimes, was successful and appeared at Penge, Harrow and Clacton, what a wonderful time was had!  

She also danced in the British Arts Dance Spectacular at the Royal Albert Hall. In 1953 she started to assist "Miss Doris" part time in classes and on leaving school, commenced work as a junior shorthand typist with the Variety Artistes Federation (as near to the stage profession as you could get) and met lots of famous stars of that era. But with dancing being her first love she left office work and started to teach full time, having gained her teaching qualifications with the N.A.T.D. and I.S.T.D.  

In 1977 when Miss Doris (as she was known) died, the decision had to be made as to whether the school would continue. With the backing of the senior girls, it was decided that it would carry on under the same name the Doris Holford Stage School with Miss Ann as the Principal. School productions and cabarets carried on, as did examinations and competitions. Professional and amateur pantomimes have become part of the itinerary.  



We hold classes for all ages in Ballet, Tap, Modern Jazz, Musical Theatre, Acrobatics, Contemporary and Drama


Events and awards

The School holds two examination sessions a year as well as the annual British Arts Awards. The children also take part in amateur and professional stage shows