BY TOBY PORTER
A theatre school which is moving to South London from its home of 70 years north of the river has been given a grant for community projects at its new home.
Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts has been given more than £800,000 by London Mayor Sadiq Khan towards its new building in Peckham. The money will go towards fitting out publicly accessible areas of the drama school’s new premises, and has been given specifically to involve the local community.
Mountview is due to open the multimillion-pound building this autumn, when it will move all of its activity to Peckham from Wood Green in north London.
The £843,543 given to Mountview is one of 27 projects receiving a share of £24million from Mr Khan’s Good Growth Fund.
Alongside the performing arts training Mountview will provide in Peckham, the school’s new home will provide workspaces, workshop facilities and other community resources. It will make its training facilities available to the public in the evenings, weekends and holidays, with community groups given discounted rates.
The Mayor said the investment in Mountview’s new building would actively support Londoners of a black, Asian and minority ethnic background to get involved in the arts, as well as people from lower socio-economic groups, disabled people and young people not in education, employment or training.
Mountview’s chairwoman Vikki Heywood said: “Mountview’s vision for a new sort of drama school which is open to all is vital to reshaping the performance and production industry.
“This grant clearly demonstrates the Mayor and GLA’s commitment to access to the arts and culture. We are hugely grateful to the GLA and look forward to welcoming the community, visitors and industry to our new home in the autumn.”
Deputy Mayor for planning, regeneration and skills, Jules Pipe, said: “The Mayor and I are determined to use the Good Growth Fund to challenge preconceptions about how regeneration takes place.
“This project is a great example of how we can work with communities on projects in a way that will help ensure the benefits are felt by all.”
Also funded is Battersea Arts Centre’s community garden, which has been given £150,000, and Southbank Centre’s Undercroft skate space.
The space faced potential closure in 2014 before being saved, and the Southbank has now been given £700,000 to create a dedicated home for its education programme and an“expanded and improved” skate space.
Mountview has been training actors and production artists for more than 70 years. In 1992, it became the first provider of specialised musical theatre training in Europe. Mountview trains students at foundation, undergraduate and postgraduate level as well as running dynamic evening, weekend and holiday short courses and outreach programmes with schools and community groups.
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