ArtsEd Launch New Multi Million Pound Theatre

Stars from the world of theatre turn up to see performance of Evita

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Actor Robert Lindsay, theatre director Sir Trevor Nunn and television sports presenter Clare Balding were amongst the stars of stage and screen who joined Lord Lloyd Webber for the launch of the new theatre at the Arts Educational Schools, (ArtsEd) in Chiswick last night (Nov 14).

Third-year musical theatre students at the college put on a performance of one of their benefactor's most popular musicals, Evita, to celebrate the occasion. The invited guests also included Lady Lloyd Webber, who is lead trustee of the ALW Foundation, actor Robert Powell, and a number of former ArtsEd alumni including Cherie Lunghi, Nigel Harman, Janie Dee and Tuppence Middleton.

Elaine Paige, whose performance as Eva Peron in the original West End production of Evita thirty-five years ago, sent a special message to wish the cast well.

Mollie Melia-Redgrave as Eva ( photo: Robin Savage)

The new theatre is part of a major programme of refurbishment at ArtsEd made possible by a donation of £3.5 million from The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation.  The school’s former theatre space has undergone a complete transformation. The auditorium has been fully refurbished, an orchestra pit and a new control room have been added and technical improvements include new lighting and sound infrastructure and increased 'flying' capacity. The new building took eight months to complete this year.

Andrew Lloyd Webber  said : "I am immensely proud that my Foundation has been able to provide funding for this new state-of-the-art theatre space. This forms part of a major redevelopment at ArtsEd and is the largest single donation that my Foundation has made thus far. I have always been a passionate supporter of young talent. It is crucial that there is proper training for the performers of the future and it fills me with great joy that my Foundation can help in this way.”

Olly Dobson as Che;Pic- Robin Savage

Jane Harrison , Principal of the Arts Educational Schools London (ArtsEd), added: 

“This generous gift is a powerful endorsement of the quality of our training and has enabled us to bring our facilities up to the same high standard as our teaching for both current and future students. We would like to pay tribute to the Foundation for its generous support and to thank everyone who has been involved in the process, especially architects RHWL Arts Team and fit out specialists Overbury.”  

The theatre’s launch performance of Evita, composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber with lyrics by Tim Rice, is directed and choreographed by Joey McKneely. The music director is Tom Deering, the designer, Simon Kenny; the lighting designer Howard Hudson and sound designer Ross Portway. The roles of Eva, Perón and Che are performed by ArtsEd’s third year musical theatre students Mollie Melia-Redgrave, Daniel Donskoy and Olly Dobson.

A view of the new theatre; pic courtesy of RHWL

Arts Educational Schools London (ArtsEd) is one of the most well-known undergraduate schools for musical theatre and acting for film and television training in the UK.  ArtsEd alumni include: Catherine Zeta Jones, Jane Seymour, Julie Andrews, Nicolette Sheridan, Cherie Lunghi, Martin Clunes, Nigel Harman, Will Young and Nigel Havers.

The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation’s principle objective is to promote the arts, culture and heritage for the public. Founded in 1992, it awards grants and scholarships to students, as well as supporting heritage projects,

To see a ‘Behind the Scenes’ video of the refurbishment visit the news section of the ArtsEd site  


November 14, 2013