“Doreen Bird (27 January 1928 – 4 March 2004) was a British dance teacher and founder of the Doreen Bird College of Performing Arts in Sidcup, Kent. She was a fellow, examiner, lecturer, committee and council member of the ISTD, life member of the RAD, and Honorary MA. Prior to her death from Leukaemia in 2004, she had been studying towards a Ph.D. As well as being a respected dance figure in the United Kingdom, Bird also travelled the World as a lecturer and adjudicator specialising in dance and musical theatre. The college which Bird founded is now recognised Internationally as a centre of excellence for dance and performing arts, with its students working worldwide in high-profile areas of the performing industry including West End and Broadway theatre.
In 1945, Bird founded the Doreen Bird School of Dance, the predecessor of today’s Bird College of Dance, Music & Theatre Performance. Bird initially taught her students in her parents’ living room rolling up the carpet to provide a suitable dance surface, although she later used a local church hall. In 1951, she established a full-time performing arts course with six students which became known as the Doreen Bird College of Performing Arts,
In 1954 Doreen Bird acquired a former vicarage (on the corner of Christchurch Road and Main Road, Sidcup) which was renamed Vicarage House and would be the college’s first permanent premises. In 1964, it moved to Studio House (59, Station Road, Sidcup), which continued in daily use by the college until 2016. To enable the college to expand, it became necessary to seek larger premises and in 1979, Bird was successful in securing the freehold of a former Victorian school, which was converted into dance studios and was renamed Birkbeck Centre. Birkbeck Centre was officially opened by former Prime Minister, Sir Edward Heath and was the college’s main campus until 2007. In 2007, as part of the college’s contract to provide pre-vocational music and dance services on behalf of Bexley Council, Bird College was granted residency of the former Bexley Centre for Music & Dance, which became the college’s principal campus, renamed The Centre. The college vacated all of its existing buildings early in 2016, with the acquisition of a new one-site facility on Alma Road in Sidcup, today’s Bird College.”