Welcome to the Music & Drama Education Awards 2021, in which we celebrate the extraordinary contribution made by professionals, companies, charities, schools and other organisations to the lives of others through the medium of these two key performing arts.

The two sectors which these awards celebrate – performing arts and education –have arguably faced their most challenging year ever in 2020. We are blown away by how the people who make up the performing arts education world have continued undaunted to produce exceptional work and to support innumerable students of all ages. These awards are an opportunity for those people to be recognised.

Our winners are chosen by a prominent panel of expert judges who have the knowledge and expertise to reward the extraordinary talent, projects, organisations and products of this rich and diverse sector.

Nominations are now open until midnight on Friday 6 November 2020. Please follow the links to nominate yourselves, your colleagues, and the people, projects and companies you believe most worthy of recognition. The winners will be announced at our awards ceremony on Wednesday 24 March 2021. 

We wish all nominees luck, and thank you for the brilliant work you do to nurture the talent of the future and increase engagement with the arts.

Sarah Lambie and Thomas Lydon
Editors, Drama & Theatre and Music Teacher
Chairs of the judging panel

Click here to enter!



Outstanding Musical Initiative

Winner: Mac Makes Music - Midlands Arts Centre

Judges described the winning project as “very inspiring”, celebrating inclusivity across a variety of contexts, taking in the full breadth of its region.

Outstanding Drama Initiative

Winner: When I was 14 - Total Insight Theatre

Praised for its wide reach and impact with a huge potential for longevity. Judges were impressed to see a difficult social issue being addressed through the medium of drama.

Outstanding Music Education Resource

Winner: The Singing School Handbook - Faber Music & Sing Up

Sponsored by:

Praised by our judges as an accessible, rich resource, crystallising a 15-year body of work. A fantastic combination of philosophy and practicality.

Outstanding Drama Education Resource

Winner: Cookies Play & Educational Resources - Masterclass (Theatre Royal Haymarket Masterclass Trust)

This winning resource is freely available and immediately applicable in classrooms and studios all over the world. Judges were impressed by the significant impact it has already had on a very large number of students and teachers.

Excellence in SEND (Music & Drama)

Winner: Bridges - Octagon Theatre Bolton

The panel praised the winner for its progression route, with opportunities for a wide age range, and how it considers S-E-N-D in adults as well as young people, empowering them to create their own work.

Excellence in Musical Theatre

Winner: Trench Brothers - HMDT Music

Lauded as “innovative, interesting, original and, representative with a wide range of easily useable resources and a great title”.

Excellence in Primary/Early years (Music & Drama)

Winner: East Ayrshire Whole Class Primary String Project - East Ayrshire Council

The winner was chosen by the judges for the long-term impact, sustainability, inclusive group learning and clear pathways to progression.

Outstanding School Music Department

Winner: East London Arts and Music, London

Sponsored by:

The judges praised the winner for their forward-thinking approach. The school understands who they are working with and the passion really came through in supportive statements from parents.

Outstanding School Drama Department

Winner: Coombe Boys’ School, New Malden

Coombe Boys' School demonstrated evident support from the Headteacher, strong commitment to external collaboration, international and community experiences and projects, and clear dedication to classroom teaching as well as productions.

Francesca Hanley Inspiration Award

Winner: Ruth Montgomery - Music teacher and Audiovisability

Sponsored by:

Ruth Montgomery represented the plurality of music education - both doing excellent work in different contexts and representing different areas of endeavour.

Francesca Hanley Inspiration Award

Winner: Catherine Millar - Berkshire Maestros

Sponsored by:

The panel felt that Catherine Millar represented the plurality of music education - both doing excellent work in different contexts and representing different areas of endeavour.

Drama Inspiration Award

Winner: Gill Foster - London South Bank University

Described by our judges as “a force of nature”.

Music Teacher Magazine Editors Award

Winner: Linda Rose - Founder of Music for Life

Linda Rose from Music For Life, was chosen by the Editor of Music Teacher Magazine, Chris Walters, has led an initiative since 1993 that uses interactive music sessions to bring together professional musicians, care staff and people living with dementia. The project’s wide reach is thanks to the inspirational people and organisations who have stayed true to the core values of the work as they have helped to develop it.

Drama & Theatre Magazine Editors Award

Winner: Routes

Sarah Lambie encountered this organisation late last year and was lucky enough to attend a showing of some of the work they had been doing with one of the most marginalised groups of people in the UK at present: female asylum-seekers.

These women often have limited English and only sporadic access to language classes, which fluctuates with their asylum application status and is also held back by a need for travel expenses, for childcare. This, coupled with cultural norms which may discourage women from speaking up in mixed-gender classes where male voices dominate, makes it very difficult for them to improve their language skills and thus to integrate into society.

Routes was set up by two women and is inspirational in the way that it uses drama as a tool to increase confidence, teach everyday English language and facilitate community-building among people in this otherwise potentially very lonely and disparate section of our society.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Winner: Susan Hallam - University College London

Sponsored by:

Susan Hallam initially pursued a career as both a professional musician and a music educator and has researched and written on topics including attendance at school, behaviour improvement, ability grouping in primary and secondary schools and instrumental music services. Our winner is the author of numerous books on education, notably including “The power of music” – a book that brings together decades of research on the positive effects of music education.