A small Swindon drama academy has officially relaunched as a new local performing arts school. 

Since September 2023, there has been a small academy at the STEAM Museum led by teacher Nicki Rochford, 34, who also teaches at a secondary school in Abingdon. 

At these Saturday sessions, which involved around 20 young people aged 10-20, other local actors would join Nicki to help as teachers. 

But on April 6, the group was officially transformed into the Thomford Academy. 

Nicki has become the principal of the school and has now had a team of people joining her. 

This includes Laura Howell who is the current theatre administrator at the Wyvern Theatre, as the Assistant Principal.  Dancer Paula-Jane de Boer will be the dance teacher and Beth McInally will teach Thomford Tinies which is a specialised performance class for the ages of 3 to 5. 

On Sunday the current students performed a brand new play written just for them by playwright Dee Taylor-Thompson.

This sold-out play titled 'Who?' was performed at the Wyvern Studio Theatre and was an exploration of who people are and asked who can you trust.

Cristiane Ávila saw the performance, and she said  ''The playwriter’s ability to go deep into the human psyche and explore complex emotional themes is unique. Their storytelling is both thought-provoking and emotional, leaving an impact on the audience.” 

Fellow audience member Martin McAulay added ''It was a brilliant performance, tackling a very grown-up idea. Full marks for them all'.   

Thomford Academy are focussed on contemporary new work in acting. 

Thomford Academy are taking their students to His Majesty's Theatre (home to The Phantom of the Opera) in July to perform in the West End.

The dancing will be led by Paula-Jane, who said: "The West End will be such an amazing experience for the students and I can't wait to teach them my routines and see them on that famous stage!"

In September the school will be having a massive open day, opening the academy to all ages from 3 to 18. Having classes in acting, musical theatre and casting.

Nicki said: "I am so excited to meet our new students and start their journeys into the performing arts. There is a lot of talent in Swindon and these young people will be given so many opportunities at Thomford Academy."