Prestigious Peckham drama college’s new home is nominated for top architecture award

A prestigious theatre school which moved into new premises in double-quick time has been long-listed for one of the world’s top architecture awards.

Mountview’s Peckham home is one of the finalists for the 2020 RIBA London Regional Awards.

The 10,365m² development on Peckham Square, next to Peckham Library – which won RIBA’s Stirling Prize in 2000 – is a landmark building for vocational training for the theatre industry. It is also being extensively used for community projects.

The building includes public spaces with a 200-seat theatre made possible through a generous £1million donation from theatre impresario Sir Cameron Mackintosh, an 80-seat Backstage Theatre named after a founding gift from the Backstage Trust.

Training facilities include 21 studios, two TV studios, a radio suite, production workshops, music practice rooms and meeting rooms. Further spaces include office space for leading national arts organisations and a 195-m² professional rehearsal studio for hire.

Mountview’s new home was designed by Carl Turner Architects (now Turner Works), a RIBA regional and national award–winning practice and built by Gilbert-Ash, builder of the Stirling Prize-winning Liverpool Everyman Theatre.

The shortlisting in RIBA’s 2020 London Regional Awards is the latest recognition for the building that includes being shortlisted for Theatre Building of the Year by The Stage.

Mountview, celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, had previously been based in north London but its building had become unfit for its needs, with no public spaces or theatre.

A brownfield site in Peckham was identified by Southwark council and in October 2016 Mountview embarked on an ambitious £30-million project to relocate to a permanent, purpose-built building. Two years later, in September 2018, Mountview moved into its brand-new home.

Mountview’s joint CEOs, Sarah Preece and Stephen Jameson, received a Special Recognition Olivier Award this year for their pioneering of a new model drama school that combines performance, vocational training and community engagement with creative development for professional artists.

The duo issued a joint statement which said: “Everyone at Mountview is thrilled by this latest recognition of our new home.

“Turner Works’ inspiring design brilliantly reflects Mountview’s commitment to ensuring that drama schools and arts organisations become more open, allowing people from all walks of life to access culture and training.

“This building reflects Mountview’s reimagining how cultural buildings work in influencing and enabling new ways of training and learning without any barriers of access to a building or its many activities.”

Architect Carl Turner, who lives in a high-tech ultra-modern house he designed himself in Lyham Road, Brixton, said: “Working collaboratively with Mountview has been a dream commission for our studio. They took a chance working with a small practice and gave us that opportunity. We are delighted with the way the project has been delivered, a huge team effort, and above all the legacy and opportunity that the building and Mountview the organisation are and will provide for future generations. A huge
privilege for us to have contributed.”

Mountview graduates include Amanda Holden, Ken Stott, Sharon Small, plus Happy Valley, Shameless and Thin Blue line star Mina Anwar, Dempsy & Makepeace’s Glynis Barber, Downton’s Mr Bates Brendan Coyle, Shetland’s Douglas Henshall and soap stars Don Gilet, Michael French and Sally Dyvenor.


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