Staff and students from London South East Colleges’ performing arts department have officially opened their new Greenwich Little Theatre at Greenwich Campus in Plumstead.
Over 80 invited guests, including the Deputy Mayor of the Royal Borough of Greenwich – Cllr Mick Hayes, filled the new theatre earlier this week to watch a medley of productions from the past year, featuring students specialising in acting, dance and production arts.
Over 70 students took part in the event; both on stage and behind the scenes. Together they performed extracts from The Woman in Black (a shadow puppet version), Sweeney Todd, Beautiful Burnout and The Little Shop of Horrors. Dancers performed a number of sets that included ballet, jazz, modern and street genres.
Assistant Principal, Lisa Stubbs, welcomed guests and declared the Greenwich Little Theatre open. She told of how the department had been launched just over a year ago with just 58 students, all of whom graduated in July, and how this year it had added the new theatre space and doubled the number of professional theatre, dance and technical practitioners within its staff team.
Lisa said: “Tonight we will be showcasing the talent we have nurtured over the past 15 months. We feel that the department has gone from strength to strength and achieved an enormous amount of success so far. Last year, we saw 98% of those leaving us, go into higher education or employment.
“The UK creative industries added almost £92 billion to the economy in 2017. The industry provides two million jobs and one in six people in London work in this sector.
“We are very lucky to be located in the Royal Borough of Greenwich right now. Woolwich is fast becoming the new creative hub, and as the Production Corridor develops along the Thames riverfront from Southbank to Gravesend, it means we are perfectly placed to draw young talent from all around the south east.”
Amongst the performers taking part were students Louis Mulhere and Cecilia Walters. Both were playing prominent roles during the showcase and were extremely excited.
Warming up before the show, Louis, 17, from Chislehurst said: “I have ambitions to become a professional actor one day. I hope to progress to a London theatre school and then move to theatre, TV, and film.
“I have loved the experience so far and learned so much since enrolling here. The course has been incredible and the teachers are fantastic. Tonight, I will be showing the audience what I can do – I’ve researched and rehearsed very hard for the part I’m playing tonight and I aim to play it perfectly.”
Rising star Celia, 19, from Peckham added: “Tonight I will be operating props for the shadow puppet theatre. I’m nervous but eager to get out there.
“I would like to work as an actor as well as a writer and director. I know there is much to achieve and I have lots more to learn before I realise that dream but I have made a great start here.
“This new theatre is going to be brilliant for us all. It is fully kitted-out with a professional lighting rig and sound system. Working within it and learning how to use all the facilities it offers means we will be prepared well for the industry.”
The new theatre will be staging many more productions throughout the year and will welcome hundreds of guests from local schools, community groups, and the general public.