Testimonials. What they say about us.

Diploma courses

I cannot thank Ann and the Russell Academy enough. Ciaran Coogan LRIAM
In 2018 I was successful in receiving my Licentiate Diploma in speech and drama teaching following my RIAM examination. This would not have been possible if I had not studied at the Russell Academy. I cannot thank Ann and the Russell Academy enough for not only guiding me in the most professional, supportive manner but for also reigniting my love for the theatre and its history. If you wish to be inspired whilst learning, then the Russell Academy is for you. 

Thanks Ann and Sine. Andrea Bolger, ARIAM
 I studied with the Russell Academy for one year completing my Associate Diploma in Speech and Drama Teaching. I cannot recommend the school enough; Ann and Sine are exceptional teachers, with so much knowledge and expertise in the subject. I spread out my studies over a year, and they were so accommodating to me whenever I was performing and even gave me extra classes, free of charge. They really want you to succeed and when it came to the exam, I felt I was ready and armed with all the knowledge and tools they gave me. I would highly recommend this school for anyone considering becoming a Drama Teacher. The classes were always a lot of fun, and I made great friends throughout the year. Thanks Ann and Sine! 

I couldn’t recommend Ann’s diploma course enough. Susie Young, ARIAM
  

The support from Ann and her team is phenomenal. Ruth Coughlan LRIAM

Ann and Sine are wonderful teachers. Ruth Purcell ARIAM
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I returned to drama after many years absence and with a large knowledge gap but with the hope of doing exams by the summer.

They accepted me onto the course with the caveat that it was going to be a lot of work to get the exam. Consistently studying throughout a course is not my forte but Sine and Ann applied the right amount of pressure, encouragement, interest in their subject and practical tactics to help me pass the exams! Their enthusiasm for the course and more broadly their love of drama, literature, poetry and teaching is infectious. Discussions about playwrights, plays and poems bubbled with interest and life subjects were raised which had everyone contributing. It was a really fun, small class with a diverse group of people who got on well sharing a common love and appreciation of drama. I’ve walked away with a library of knowledge on a subject I’ve always loved and realise I have only more to learn.

I am very grateful for all their hard work and dedication. Angela Devine ATCL
Wonderful ladies who helped me get my drama teaching diploma. High standard of drama teaching training. I am very grateful for all their hard work and dedication, I couldn’t have done it without you.”
A big thanks to Russell Academy for the fantastic work in preparing us for the exams. Hilary Delahunty LRIAM
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As well as being a great academic course it is really enjoyable. Really interesting and interactive classes and great workshops. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to get their qualification and really enjoy the process. Ann and Sine you were great. Thanks again.”

I had a wonderful experience studying for my licentiate in speech and drama under Ann Russell and Sine Lynch. Lesley Ann Whelan LRIAM

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They were extremely supportive particularly as I was returning to study after many years away! I would recommend the Russell Academy if you are considering training as a speech and drama teacher. The success of their students in the exams are a credit to both ladies. Lesley Ann Whelan, Honours Licentiate 2016.”

I couldn’t recommend Ann and Sine more Sarah Kelly LRIAM
I started out doing my Associate Diploma and continued to study with Russell Academy for my Licentiate last December (2015). Having passed both exams, I could not rate Ann or Sine higher. The classes are enjoyable, exam focused and objective based. If you are interested in becoming a speech and drama teacher, definitely consider Russell Academy!”

I have just received my results and now am off to teach in Abu Dhabi in September! Grace Power
“I have recently completed my Associate Diploma in Speech and Drama at the Russell Academy. I have always had a keen interest in speech and drama and have completed all my grade examinations in the RIAM. After finishing college with a BA in teaching, I applied to the course as it was always something I aimed to do. The year long course was a brilliant and intense learning experience. The small class size allowed for a lot of one on one tuition which I found extremely beneficial, especially around exam time. The course timetable is set out early on so it is easy to keep track and up to date with work. In conjunction with the course, we also attended workshops and had guest speakers which we gained a lot of knowledge and insight from. The incorporation of work experience gives you a hands on approach and both Ann and Sine provided a lot of support and guidance throughout. I have just received my results and now am off to teach in Abu Dhabi in September!”
Ann and Sine make doing the Licentiate an absolute joy. Their total dedication to each and every student’s individual needs is exemplary. Steph McDermott ARIAM
“Ann and Sine make doing the Licentiate an absolute joy. Their total dedication to each and every student’s individual needs is exemplary. They foster a love of the subject and encourage creativity and imagination in the exploration of prose and poetry alike. They provide plenty of food for thought when it comes to teaching children and adults alike and have encouraged me every step of the way. I’m very excited about starting my own drama school some day and it will be a tribute to their hard work and enthusiasm when I do.”
I was directed to Ann Russell and the Russell Academy when I decided to take the plunge and pursue my ambition to qualify as a Speech and Drama teacher and I will be forever grateful that I was. I could not have asked for a better mentor. Elaine Jordan
“I was directed to Ann Russell and the Russell Academy when I decided to take the plunge and pursue my ambition to qualify as a Speech and Drama teacher and I will be forever grateful that I was. I could not have asked for a better mentor. From the first moment Ann was supportive in every way. She is an inspirational teacher, enthusiastic about her subject and an absolute mine of information which she is more than willing to share. The love she fosters for drama and literature is more than inspiring and her generosity is exemplary. She has a wonderful way of bringing the best out of her students and of understanding where a student’s strengths and weaknesses lie. She is both encouraging and calming and helps you to believe that no challenge is too much. And if this were not enough support Sine is also there every step of the way making sure every angle possible is covered in your tuition. My time spent at the Russell Academy is something I will treasure and armed with my Licentiate I now embark on my new career in the next two weeks. Exciting times and I have the Russell Academy to thank.”
I thoroughly enjoyed training to become a speech and drama teacher under the superb guidance of both Ann Russell and Sine Lynch. Katie Burke
“I thoroughly enjoyed training to become a speech and drama teacher under the superb guidance of both Ann Russell and Sine Lynch. Both are highly dedicated and committed Tutors who help students realise their full potential in a nurturing and creative environment. As a primary teacher, I feel that my teaching skills have been enriched beyond measure through taking part in this wonderful course. Not only have I been inspired in the field of Drama, but in many other areas of the curriculum also.”
Ann and her team are honestly hard working and passionate individuals and everyone will benefit hugely from this course. I highly recommend them as professionals and friends. Helen Kelly
“After reading some of the comments on this Facebook page, I felt I should add to the generous and nice words said by everybody. I joined Russell Academy a few years ago when I was completely lost and not sure what path to choose. Ann was extremely supportive and encouraged me to love different aspects of Drama. She helped me to love performing again and gain more confidence. I struggled a lot with essay writing and structuring, but Ann took the time to go through everything with me. After completing my course I went onto teach Speech and Drama with an incredible teacher Emer Casey. Through all the help and encouragement from Ann, I decided to complete my Degree in English and Drama. I have to say if it wasn’t for her, I would never have done this. I am now living in London and continuing to teach, which I am delighted about. Ann and her team are honestly hard working and passionate individuals and everyone will benefit hugely from this course. I highly recommend them as professionals and friends.”
If you value professionalism, dedication and commitment from your instructors, I highly recommend attending a course with Ann and Sine at the Russell Academy. Diane Hurley
“When I came to the Russell Academy in 2010, I had three adult amateur acting courses under my belt at that time. These courses were a lot of fun, but mostly about throwing a group of adults into a room, and seeing what happens. They didn’t have the clear direction in course structure and content that I was looking for and so my learning was limited. I decided to work towards an exam to teach Speech and Drama and started with the Russell Academy, as recommended by a family friend who had also trained at this school. Ann and Sine’s years of personal acting experience, understanding of both Irish and international playwrights, the history and development of stage performance and contemporary work, and their understanding of the examination course content were second to none in preparing me for my exams.

I came away with much more than a certificate qualifying me to instruct Speech and Drama, which in itself, was a great accomplishment, but also a richer and deeper appreciation for the arts. If you value professionalism, dedication and commitment from your instructors, I highly recommend attending a course with Ann and Sine at the Russell Academy.”

A must do course for anyone serious about their career development. Audrey Mulhall, Training Officer, LRIAM
“As a past student of the Russell Academy, the information and skills acquired during training have proved invaluable to me in the business environment. It has enabled me to develop and coach employees with confidence and clarity. A must do course for anyone serious about their career development.”
An amazing teacher! Marie-Renee Lochou, LRIAM
“Ann Russell’ s drama classes gave me the confidence to write my own musical… an amazing teacher who has a passion for her craft and knows how to pass it on!!!”
Ann is a mine of resources… Jared Madden, ARIAM, LRIAM
“I am a past pupil of Ann’s and she was an inspirational teacher who has a gift of imparting her knowledge in a hands-on fashion. Ann is a mine of resources and uses her skills to keep her students centre stage. Thanks to Ann I am now qualified to teach Drama and every year it just gets better and better!”
I found this course to be a fantastic experience which fostered and renewed my love of theatre. Mary O’Connor, ARIAM, LRIAM
“I found this course to be a fantastic experience which fostered and renewed my love of theatre. It gave me the confidence, competence and skills to establish my own drama school. There was a fun and positive atmosphere in the class and I treasure the friends I made there. It was fantastic to meet fellow students with the same passion for drama and theatre. Ann, with her humour, sense of fun and inspiring theatre and teaching background, changed this course from mundane to magical and changed drama from being a hobby to a passion.”
I would highly recommend this course to anyone interested in studying or teaching speech and drama. Marguerite McConnell, ARIAM, LRIAM
“I would highly recommend this course to anyone interested in studying or teaching speech and drama. It was a fantastic 2 years of invaluable insight into the world of theatre and drama. From this course I took a career change into speech and drama teaching and have never looked back. Through the intimate classes that were held I made some fantastic friends who are a huge support to me in my career.”
I highly recommend this course to anyone thinking of becoming a Drama teacher. Nicola Bashford, ARIAM
“Studying with Russell Academy was an emotional, confidence building experience. The material covered gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in a wide range of Irish and International poetry and drama, and opens your imagination to the world of mime and improvisation. I was offered constant support and assistance on my journey and highly recommend this course to anyone thinking of becoming a Drama teacher.”
I have had a fantastic year studying to become a qualified speech and drama teacher in The Ann Russell Academy. Judith O’Brien, LRIAM
“This year (September 2011-May 2012) I have had a fantastic year studying to become a qualified speech and drama teacher in The Ann Russell Academy. Initially, I began the year thinking that I would do the Associate Diploma in Speech and Drama at the end of the year but by Christmas, I had decided to prepare for the Licentiate Diploma exams.

I was delighted when I received my results in July and I am now a fully qualified Speech and Drama teacher! I now feel ready for the next chapter of my life which is to teach English and Drama in an international high school in Norway. Now, I know that I will be able to confidently teach my classes because I have great background knowledge and lots of practical experience under my belt thanks to Ann and Sine’s great teaching (and my hard work of course!)”

Without doubt, never have I been so inspired as I was when I studied under the the very brilliant and very talented Ann Russell of the Russell Academy. Declan Maxwell, ARIAM
“Without doubt, never have I been so inspired as I was when I studied under the the very brilliant and very talented Ann Russell of the Russell Academy. Whether you are academically inclined or motivated by the joy of drama in action, your teaching career should be/will be advanced by committing to this course. Within a structured class format and with a wonderful sense of joy and humour, Ann delivers a wealth of knowledge and powerful insight and experience to all elements of this course. I simply wish I had enjoyed my regular school days as much as I enjoyed studying with Ann. Ably supported by Sine Lynch and other associate teachers, Russell Academy is a premium and established school for success. I wish Ann and her team the very best for the future.”
The course proved above and beyond my expectations. Áine Dileen, ARIAM
“I attended the Ann Russell Academy of Speech and Drama for a year to study for the Associate Diploma in Speech and Drama. The course proved above and beyond my expectations, providing not only comprehensive preparation for the exam but also a much greater appreciation of the world of speech and drama. Aside from the course content being covered thoroughly in weekly classes, a much broader insight into the world of drama was explored through workshops, film and attending plays. This broader emphasis led to a deeper understanding of theory and course content when it came to exam time. As well as weekly classes, regular workshops were held in areas including mime, set design and Shakespeare. these workshops were all very enjoyable. Mock practical and written exams were also features of the course ensuring we were adequately prepared for exams. The course coordinators were very experienced and knowledgeable in the field and they easily transferred their energy and enthusiasm for drama onto us. They devoted huge time to the course and were always prompt in response to questions we had and were even willing to meet us outside of course hours to go over practical pieces or areas of difficulty. In short, this was a fantastic course, informative yet fun, which was led by very diligent and interested coordinators who could not have done more to help and facilitate us. I would highly recommend it”.
I found the Russell Academy was wonderful. Hannah Rogers
“I went to the Russell Academy to earn my ATCL in Teaching Speech and Drama with Trinity Guildhall. I found the Russell Academy was wonderful. The Teachers are instructive, helpful and always on hand to answer any questions I had. They knew the curriculum inside out and presented it in a way that was engaging and understandable for me. They were also highly knowledgeable on various aspects of speech and drama. I would recommend the Russell Academy to anyone who wishes to learn more about speech and drama, public speaking or simply acting for fun.”

Public Speaking

This course was absolutely instrumental in getting me over my crippling fear Ciara Boylan
This was a fantastic public speaking course. I would highly recommend it to anyone, but particularly those who have a fear of speaking in public. Ann’s approach is based on lots of practice in a friendly environment. I have attended other public speaking courses, but this was by far the most effective approach. She allows individual speakers to work to their own existing strengths, which was so important in making me realise that nobody can or should conform to some kind of ‘ideal’ that does not actually exist. You focus on your own abilities and the areas you want to improve upon and so every practice and every piece of feedback is relevant to the individual. Ann generated a warm, welcoming and lively environment. This course was absolutely instrumental in getting me over my crippling fear. I can’t recommend this course enough.”
How could I imagine I was going to be so lucky to find the perfect course Virginia Rumbao Real
I have to thank Ann and the rest of the group for this amazing journey. I have seen myself doing presentations and actually enjoying doing them. Ann is just fantastic. She creates a very friendly and welcoming atmosphere with a mix of kindness and knowledge. She makes the class fun and entertaining. Everything flows naturally and you learn so much from the exercises and feedback. Even although I am Spanish I felt completely involved and there was no obstacle because of the language. Join this course. It was one of the the best things I ever did for myself. I completely recommend it.”
I cannot recommend Ann Russell enough, an amazing lady. Thomas J. Kelly
Like almost everybody, I have a fear of public speaking and for years I had planned to do a Public Speaking course but always found a reason not to do it.  Ann Russell our teacher was just brilliant, very understanding and she immediately made all of us feel at ease. There was a great mix of ages. Week upon week I could see all candidates including myself becoming more confident.”
Ann is an amazing teacher. Anonymous participant
“It is a testament to Ann that I stood up and spoke in front of the other members of the class on the first day as I am a very shy person. I thought it would be something I would not be able to do. As the classes progressed I gained confidence and public speaking is now not as frightening as it was. The classes are great fun and I would highly recommend Ann!”
The relaxed and informal atmosphere throughout the course was particularly pleasant. Sigmund V
The course was fun and made me more aware of the importance of posture and breath control when speaking. We also received good tips on how to structure a speech or presentation and the weekly speeches in front of the class were rewarding.  The relaxed and informal atmosphere throughout the course was particularly pleasant.”
The course was delivered with true professionalism but was also fun. Kevin Daly
“Having attended two of Ann Russell’s public speaking courses in the past year, I can unequivocally endorse these classes and Ann as instructor. The courses are focused at the psychology and physical aspects of public speaking which were most students primary concerns. Students who attended rarely had an issue with the content of speeches as they knew their topic but had significant issues with apprehension when delivering a speech in front of an audience. Ann provided numerous exercises and practical methods to overcome these issues and gain confidence. The course was delivered with true professionalism but was also fun and both groups I attended visibly gained in confidence by the end of the course.”
I would recommend Ann’s class without hesitation to anybody who finds public speaking a little daunting! Nicky Cullen
“Ann’s class was a life saver!! I freak out at the thought of public speaking and avoid it like the plague, but when a so called buddy of mine asked me to be his best man and I stupidly agreed I had to do something about it. My initial thought was to start attending toastmasters however it all seemed to daunting, then a friend recommended me this class so I signed up. Out of all the classes I have taken in life I feel I got the most value from this, it’s a small group, everybody is in the same boat, you have fun along the way and throughout the 5 weeks you slowly build up to giving a full speech or presentation at the end so it never become’s overwhelming. I completely shocked myself with how composed I was on the day and the speech was a great success. I would recommend Ann’s class without hesitation to anybody who finds public speaking a little daunting!”
Thank you for the wonderful public speaking course last week. My wedding speech went amazingly well… Paddy Jordan
“Thank you for the wonderful public speaking course last week. My wedding speech went amazingly well and I was very calm and measured the whole way through which was most certainly the outcome of having done the course. In fact, one person came up to me afterwards and said that I looked so calm, they thought I might fall asleep up there…(although I’m not sure if that’s a compliment or not!)”
I did a five week course with Ann and couldn’t recommend it highly enough. There was a great mix of people in the class, all wanting to improve their public speaking skills. Daniel B
“When my friend asked me to act as his best man I was honoured. Almost immediately though, my thoughts turned to the inevitable speech I would have to give. I was never one for public speaking and, in fact, avoided any occasion to speak in public like the plague. There was no getting out of the speech however and I knew that if I didn’t want to be a mumbling, stuttering wreck on the day, I would need to get prepared. I did a five week course with Ann and couldn’t recommend it highly enough. There was a great mix of people in the class, all wanting to improve their public speaking skills. Eash week, Ann took us through vocal exercises, breathing techniques and stressed the importance of non-verbal communication. Ann would give advice and guidance on our presentations and over time, speaking in front of the class seemed less and less daunting. The wedding speech went really well on the night and for that, I certainly have Ann to thank.”
I found the Public Speaking Course at Abbey School of Speech and Drama with Ann Russell to be extremely effective, personalised and enjoyable. CN
“I found the Public Speaking Course at Abbey School of Speech and Drama with Ann Russell to be extremely effective, personalised and enjoyable. Ann encourages you to find your own style, while giving you immediate feedback and advice on how to improve your public speaking skills. I would recommend this course for anyone, in particular those who find public speaking daunting and who want to find their voice.”
I found the course to be absolutely excellent and the best thing that I have ever done! Celine Kelly
“I found the course to be absolutely excellent and the best thing that I have ever done! It has provided me with valuable tools and techniques when making presentations. Ann was amazing with the group providing great support and encouragement for each individual and the atmosphere was very positive and non-threatening. Having completed the course, speaking in public is not as daunting and I feel much more confident and self assured when speaking to an audience now. I highly recommend this course for anyone who feels nervous or under-confident at the prospect of speaking publicly.”
I attended a public speaking course with Ann and can recommend her highly Nora Hart
” the only trouble is I would love to attend more classes!

What started out as a chore to me ended up quite the opposite, never knew it could have been that interesting. Brian Sheehy

“I found the course a very holistic approach to public speaking. The various techniques used allowed everyone to reach a high level of competence in an enjoyable and friendly manner. What started out as a chore to me ended up quite the opposite, never knew it could have been that interesting. The disarming Maeve McGowan, delivered the course in a professional and friendly way. While encouraging the group to bring out their best from day one, Maeve was also good at tailoring different aspects to individuals’ specific needs.”

As an entrepreneur I felt that my lack of confidence in speaking before a group would hold me back in my career. Ben Johnston
“As an entrepreneur I felt that my lack of confidence in speaking before a group would hold me back in my career. The Russell Academy course not only helped me to feel more comfortable with speaking in public but taught me how to control my voice and body language in a way that would engage an audience and allow me to communicate my message in a powerful and effective way.”
I found the course worthwhile because of the emphasis on speaking in front of the group each week. Muiris Loughnane
“I found the course worthwhile because of the emphasis on speaking in front of the group each week.”
The open and relaxed atmosphere of the classes give a wonderful opportunity to explore and develop public speaking skills you never thought you had. Michael McCarthy
“The open and relaxed atmosphere of the classes give a wonderful opportunity to explore and develop public speaking skills you never thought you had.”