Andrew Lloyd Webber Funds Arts Ed

Cast of Evita with Chris Hocking Andrew Lloyd Webber and Jane Harrison


Torin Douglas - November 2013

Photos - Robin Savage courtesy of ArtsEd

One of the great creative assets we have on our doorstep in Chiswick is Arts Ed - The Arts Educational Schools - in Bath Road, which has trained some of our finest actors and singers, with courses in film, TV and musical theatre.

ArtsEdLondonOfficial Logo smallIt has now got even better, with the opening of a new Theatre funded by a £3.5 million grant from the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation. Lord Lloyd Webber is the president of Arts Ed and he was there last week at the opening gala performance of Evita, by the school's third-year musical theatre students.

On stage afterwards, he made clear how impressed he was by the production and by Mollie Melia Redgrave, who sang the title role: “I was not prepared for such powerful story-telling, and for hearing quite simply the best Eva Perón I’ve ever heard” he said, a comment prominently reported in the Evening Standard and What'sOnStage.

Mark Shenton, theatre critic of The Stage, also applauded the production but raised an eyebrow:  "I bow to Lord Lloyd Webber’s own expertise, of course, but can he have forgotten Julie Covington (who created the role on the original album recording), Elaine Paige (who sang it in the original London production) or Patti LuPone (who originated it on Broadway)?"

It was a great evening, celebrated by a host of local celebrities, including Sir Trevor Nunn, Robert Lindsay and Clare Balding and the local MP Mary Macleod.

 ArtsEd Principal Jane Harrison With Andrew Lloyd Webber and Chris Hocking ArtsEd Deputy PrincipalAll were impressed not just by the production but by the new theatre, which seats 200, and the building's reception area, which has been turned into a stylish, welcoming space. In his speech, Lord Lloyd Webber said that those who had been "lucky enough" to make money from the arts should donate it back to help the next generation, a plea prominently reported by the Daily Telegraph and The Guardian.

 TV Triangle is already building closer links with ArtsEd, aAdrian Blake and ArtsEd Students At TVTriangle Sky Visits part of its initiative to bring together local universities and colleges and the smaller and medium-size companies in the Triangle, to widen the number and type of employment opportunities that the students are aware of. It recently invited more than a dozen students with Adrian Blake, headteacher of ArtsEd's  Independent Day School, to join the Triangle's Sky Studios visit, and the school has now signed up for a trip to Sky's Skills Studio, where schoolchildren can create their own television reports and learn more about the TV process. 

Article by Torin Douglas. Photos by Robin Savage.