On November 10th 2000, the Performing Arts Centre was officially opened!
|10 Nov 2020|
|News from Frensham|
Beginning life as the Performing Arts Centre and officially opened on November 10th 2000, it was renamed The Aldridge Theatre at a ceremony in October 2013 in memory of Trevor Aldridge, OF and a long term Chair of Governors and President of the Board of Governors.
The architects, Burrell, Boley, Fisher deserve a huge amount of credit for creating an incredibly child friendly environment, and it deservedly received numerous architecture awards.
Starting with the obligatory opening night concert, the theatre then established itself early on with ‘West Side Story’, the first of many fantastic musicals. My Fair Lady, Carousel, Oliver, Cabaret, Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, Me & My Girl, Guys and Dolls, Mary Poppins, Singin’ in the Rain amongst others, with Wizard of Oz in rehearsals for February 2021.
Over the 20 years, the theatre has helped develop new shows and we have welcomed back many former students who have gone on to act professionally.
It’s played host to shows before they’ve toured nationally, and for shows that have gone into the West End such as Wilde Creatures and The Gruffalo and offered free performances by professional companies to hundreds of children for whom it is their first experience of live theatre.
The most recent professional show ‘Oi Frog & Friends!’ was nominated for an Olivier Award for best family show. It was first performed on our stage and seen by our children who helped contribute to the feedback all shows need when starting out.
There have been dance concerts, exam performances, lectures, rock and pop concerts, choral concerts, musicals, immersive shows, junior productions, fashion shows, community use, animal dissections, workshops, Taiko drumming, straight plays, competitive music festivals, promenade performances, piano recitals, morning talks, premiers, dance companies, art exhibitions, plays-in-a-week, children’s shows, cinema screenings, quiz evenings, Ted X talks, Christmas fayres and much much more. It is a hugely flexible space that everyone has benefitted from.
We are incredibly proud of the sheer quality of everything that has taken place in this wonderful building and the contribution it has made to the experiences of hundreds of children and adults. We look forward to another 20 fabulous years!