Sylvia Young

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Sylvia Young OBE (born Sylvia Bakal 18 September 1939 in Whitechapel, London[1]) is the founder and principal of Sylvia Young Theatre School in London, England.

Sylvia Young Theatre School[edit]

Young founded her theatre school in 1981 in Drury Lane, London, before moving to its current Marylebone premises in 1983.[2][3] The school is co-educational and provides a combination of academic and vocational classes for children aged 10 to 16 years. The academic curriculum encompasses GCSEs, while the vocational curriculum teaches acting, dance and music. Many SYTS students have gone on to become successful in the performing arts world, including Amy Winehouse, Denise Van Outen, Billie Piper, former Spice Girl Emma Bunton, I Am Number Four star Alex Pettyfer, Victoria from Emmerdale Isabel Hodgins, Dawn from EastEnders Kara Tointon, Stacey from EastEnders Lacey Turner, Chenelle Olaiya, McFly member Tom Fletcher, ex Busted bass player Matt Willis, member of The Saturdays, Vanessa White and member of The Wanted, Nathan Sykes. The film High School Musical 3 features an SYTS pupil, Jemma McKenzie-Brown.


Young married Norman Ruffell in Hackney, London, in 1961 and has two children, actresses Frances Ruffelle and Alison Ruffelle. Young's granddaughter is pop singer Eliza Doolittle.[4]

Styles and honours[edit]

She was the subject of This Is Your Life in December 1998 when she was surprised by Michael Aspel at the Sylvia Young Theatre School.

Young was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen's Birthday Honours List of 2005 for her services to the arts.[5][6]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Blonde ambition". The Guardian. 18 May 1999. Retrieved 8 April 2012. 
  3. ^ Sylvia Young Theatre School - Full Time School
  4. ^ "Eliza Doolittle lives with mum". Belfast Telegraph. 28 July 2010. Retrieved 8 April 2012. 
  5. ^ Welham, Jamie; Moore-Bridger, Benedict (19 September 2008). "Theatre school of the stars is on the move". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 8 April 2012. 
  6. ^ "Chief becomes Sir". SomethingJewish. 6 November 2005. Retrieved 8 April 2012. 

External links[edit]