Arts Ed Receives Major Grant

Enabling school to recruit students from under-represented groups

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Arts Educational School has won a grant of £130,000 from the Learning and Skills Council for its “widening participation” programme in the academic year starting this week. The grant was won in competition with dance and drama schools across England and Wales, and represents the largest single public grant ever given to the school.

The purpose of the grant is to help Arts Educational Schools recruit young people onto its prestigious courses from “under-represented” groups. Currently, under-represented groups include disabled people, students from minority ethnic backgrounds and those from low income families.

The programme to be run by Arts Educational Schools will focus much of its attention on young people from local boroughs and will include workshops, part-time courses, holiday courses, and summer schools. The aim is to identify, encourage, and develop the potential talents of young people who might have a future in the world of theatre, dance, and musical theatre. The programme will help train students on a part-time basis in order to help them get them into the top performing arts schools in the country. Arts Educational Schools itself will have up to 54 scholarships per year for the best students to enter its professional three year courses.

Some of the highlights of the project will include a major summer performance project at Waterman’s Arts Centre in Brentford and at “The Scoop” – a 1,000 seat theatre on the banks of the Thames next to London City Hall. A special year-round programme is being developed at Waterman’s Arts Centre, as part of a £20,000 investment in the future of the venue. The programme will start on a regular basis on Saturdays and Sundays from the end of September – and will also include Easter and Summer projects.

John Baraldi, Dean of Arts Educational Schools said, “This is a wonderful chance for one of Britain’s most successful arts institutions to invest in the future of a major West London community arts venue. We hope that our collaboration with Waterman’s will provide young people in West London with opportunities which will be celebrated for many years to come.” Baraldi knows the West London arts scene well. He was the first Director of Waterman’s Arts Centre when it opened in the 1980’s before he went on to become Chief Executive of Riverside Studios in Hammersmith.

Whilst most of the work will be aimed at 16 to 20 year olds, there will be opportunities for potential stars of the future aged 21 and over.

Arts Educational Schools London has made a new staff appointment to oversee the new area of work. She is Gill Foreman, who was recruited directly from the Royal Shakespeare Company, having served as Head of Young People’s programmes for the theatre. Her remit is to develop exciting new work with schools, theatres, and community groups and to ensure that there continues to be opportunities for new talents to be encouraged from all sectors of the community. John Baraldi said,” Gill’s appointment is a great development for us. She knows and loves the area – she was raised in Richmond and Twickenham area - and she has gone on to become a nationally renowned writer, educationalist, and advocate of arts for young people. I think her appointment will make a big impact on teachers and pupils in West London.”

Andrew Lloyd Webber recently became President of Arts Educational Schools London. He said, "The future of this country’s musical theatre tradition depends on centres of excellence, such as the Art Educational Schools London, which nurture and inspire young performers. Working with young performers is a particular passion of mine and I am delighted and honoured to be asked to become their President."

The Arts Educational Schools London, have since 1919, produced distinguished graduates who have achieved professional acclaim in their chosen vocational fields. Julie Andrews, Darcey Bussell, Nigel Havers, Bonnie Langford, Cherie Lunghi, Jane Seymour, Hugo Speer, Will Young, Amara Karan, and Riann Steele are just a few of the exceptional talents who have trained at the school. Arts Educational Schools London is one of the leading Performing Arts Institutions in the UK and caters for young talented people from the ages of 11 to 18 years in our Independent Vocational Day School, and those 18 years and above seeking professional training in Acting and Musical Theatre.

September 11, 2008