Peckham theatre school reopens to students

A theatre school has reopened after being closed to students and the public for nearly six months because of the COVID-19 lockdown.

The Mountview drama school and theatre in Peckham has reopened its doors with students able to tread the boards for the first time since March.

After months of online learning lockdown, students say they are looking forward to in-person teaching.

“Mountview pride themselves on being a drama school that adapts and evolves with the industry and the world,” said Shahbaaz Khan, a third year student.

“In light of recent events and the effect of the pandemic, I’m excited to return to the building for the start of term and prepare to train as a performer and for the new challenges I will now face in the industry.”

Sarah Preece, Peckham resident and Mountview executive director said: “The safety of our students, staff and the local community is our number one priority, and we’ve been working hard to make sure that everyone feels safe and comfortable.”

Safety measures being put in place include the development of a Mountview App to track and monitor the health of all those entering the building and to check the health of staff and students before they leave home.

A queuing system has been set up outside the building and a one-way system has been established inside.

Like schools, Mountview students are being placed in ‘bubbles’ to restrict mixing between year groups.

Sarah added: “It’s been incredibly difficult being away from our home base in Peckham.

“But we’re so proud of how our staff and students have taken these challenging circumstances in their stride. Continued to create incredible work during lockdown and worked to ensure the building is safe for students to return. We can’t wait to be back in the heart of Peckham again.”

The Mountview building was closed during lockdown, but there was still plenty going on inside.

“We’ve been working with local charity Pecan to offer them free space and support for the Southwark Food bank during the COVID-19 crisis.” Sarah said.

“The food bank is an amazing service and Pecan are doing tremendous work to support the local community with COVID-19 having had such an impact on their ability to support those most in need.”

“In July, we also arranged for the Mountview building to be part of Scene Change’s #MissingLiveTheatre installation which saw the building covered in hazard tape – it was fantastic that Mountview was chosen to participate in this important national campaign, bringing media attention to the enforced closure of cultural organisations.”

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