Merseyside Dance and Drama Centre in Liverpool offers children’s and adult’s dance classes and full-time 3-year dance performance, musical theatre and dance teacher training.

Merseyside Dance & Drama Centre believes in a holistic approach to teaching. Each student is encouraged and nurtured and their individual qualities and talents are recognised and enhanced throughout the three year training programme.

This philosophy is behind the remarkable reputation of MDDCDance as a highly respected academy for dance, musical theatre performance and dance teacher training since it’s inception in 1956.


The history of Merseyside Dance & Drama Centre is entwined with the history of the dynamic driving force behind the college’s success, Gaynor Owen.

Gaynor Owen - Merseyside Dance and Drama Centre

Miss Owen celebrated 50 years of dance teaching in 2007

The college as we know it today originated in small dancing classes given by Miss Owen at various locations throughout Merseyside and North Wales and by 1956 the school had flourished and become established in its own premises in Birkenhead.

Gaynor’s love of dance and theatre performance began at the age of six with her first dance lessons and the passion awakened set the course for a remarkable life. The talent, commitment and dedication Gaynor showed to her chosen profession is wholly responsible for her stratospheric success. She passed the Advanced Royal Academy of Dancing exam during her time at the Hammond School in Chester before achieving Fellowship status of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD) in Ballet, Tap and Modern.

The call of the stage beckoned and Gaynor enjoyed a short and successful theatrical career before turning to her real vocation, teaching, by setting up the school in the Birkenhead studios.

During 1975, as the school building was undergoing major structural alterations to improve the facilities and accommodate the increasing numbers of full-time students, Gaynor was invited to become an examiner with the ISTD in the Modern, Tap and Ballet faculties. But the success didn’t stop there.

In just three short years the school had once-again outgrown its premises and from 1978 to 1982 the hunt was on for new studios. During this time temporary studio accommodation was taken at Liverpool’s Everyman Theatre and Birkenhead’s Operatic Society.

In 1983 a permanent nine studio centre was found on Camden Street in the heart of the city of Liverpool, just a stone’s throw from Lime Street station, launching Merseyside Dance & Drama Centre as a major force in the provision of dance performance and teacher training in the UK.

Miss Owen, now firmly established as a major international examiner, won the ISTD award for 1999/2000 after being nominated for her life-time contribution to theatre dancing in the UK and abroad. After a number of years as a member of the ISTD’s Modern faculty committee, Gaynor received the highest honour in 2003 by being elected to the position of Chairperson of the Modern Theatre faculty.

In 2008, after more than 50 years performing and teaching Gaynor stepped down as the principal of Merseyside Dance and Drama Centre to focus on her commitments at ISTD headquarters in London. Miss Owen remains the artistic director of the college and oversees the continuing implementation of the founding philosophy.

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