ONE of the oldest drama clubs in Oxfordshire, Abingdon Drama Club is not only a provider of first class of theatre, it is also the launch pad for many a promising career.

The club has been providing drama classes for young people for more than 30 years with a skilled group of drama teachers.

They include Andrea Mardon, who came on board in 2008 to teach one class which has now expanded into a thriving programme of three weekly drama classes for ages 11-18 and a performance club which puts on two shows a year.

The club is now urging young people to join up for a group which promises to be fun, satisfying and impart useful skills.

"The Abingdon Drama Club Juniors offer young actors from Abingdon and the surrounding area a chance to hone their acting skills in a fun, nurturing environment while meeting other young people from a variety of schools around the area," says the club's Kevin Thomson.

Andrea is an experienced actor, director, producer and teacher, also teaching at schools and organisations across Oxfordshire including Stagecoach Abingdon, Our Lady’s Abingdon and Sibford School where she is Head of its London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) programme and exams.

During the summer months, she directs a theatre school in Normandy for students from all over the world.

In Abingdon, she has directed and acted in such shows as Therese Raquin, Stepping Out, The Turn of the Screw, Rhinoceros, Equus and Henry V. “Acting on stage keeps me honest as a teacher," she says. "You can’t tell your students to have courage and put themselves out there for the whole world to see unless you are doing it yourself and have an ongoing appreciation for how tough it is.”

Andrea came to the drama club after moving from the USA – New York City and California where she studied and worked as a professional actor, director and producer.

Looking to connect with the local theatre-loving community, she attended the current ADC show at the time – Dr Faustus.

“I was completely blown away," she says. "Here I was, fresh from New York City, the theatre capital of the world, and this show was as good as if not better than anything I had seem recently there.

"I just had to meet these guys.”

Andrea tracked down the then chairman, Mike Ward and gave him her CV. Their drama teacher had left that June and with classes were due to start up again, her arrival came at a great time for the club.

Andrea took the job and the juniors have been going from strength to strength ever since. To date she has directed over a dozen shows for the juniors including Peter Pan, Dracula, The Birds, Laramie Project, 12 Angry People, Servant of Two Masters, The Good Doctor, An Evening With Edgar Allen Poe and the Odd Couple.

Andrea also offers private LAMDA examination preparation. Keen young actors can also gain a qualification in acting – the upper grade levels carrying valuable UCAS points.

Her teaching philosophy has always been to run an energetic class that focuses on helping young actors become truthful, engaging and skilled storytellers. She says: “Acting is essentially telling the truth using someone else’s words.

"As actors we are storytellers. Our job is to engage the audience and the best way to do this is through truthful performance.”

Classes include a combination of drama games, improvisation, devising scenes or even writing original work. Students build essential vocal and physical skills such as looking at mastering the essentials of acting including, objective, subtext and characterisation.

In-depth study of plays and playwrights supports learning, particularly for those who are enrolled or will enrol in GCSE Drama.

* The ADC Juniors Drama Classes meet during term time and the cost is £80 for a 12-week course. The timings for this term are as follows:

Juniors 1 (ages 11-13) Sundays from 2.30-4pm

Juniors 2 (ages 14-15) Sundays from 4-6pm

Juniors 3 (ages 16+) Fridays from 5.30-7.30pm

Performance Club - tba

LAMDA Club (all ages) Thursdays from 4-7pm

To find out more about Abingdon Drama Club and the Juniors Drama Classes visit

To register your interest in a class contact