PICTURE GALLERY: Thorpe St Andrew School launches new performing arts centre of excellence

Students have been performing a special show to launch their school's new performing arts centre.

Thorpe St Andrew School today hosted the opening of its new Performing Arts Centre of Excellence (PACE). The festivities included a student performance directed by Vivian Munn from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and drawing inspiration from playwrights as diverse as Shakespeare, Euripedes and Caryl Churchill - and the audience were also encouraged to join in with the show. The school orchestra also provided musical entertainment.

The new arts building houses two drama studios and creates a new area allowing the drama, dance and music departments to work more closely together. The �390,000 project has been funded by a �121,000 local authority grant, donations, and a 'buy-a-brick' scheme.

School principal Ian Clayton said: 'Today has been a brilliant celebration to open the new centre.

'The sound, lighting and staging are really superb but their quality has really only been appreciated today - as the new centre showcases the talents of our students and brings out the best in these young people.

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'Drama is as much about developing life skills like confidence and the ability to work as a team as putting on a performance and today has been a great example of our students' abilities in all these critical areas.

'Confident young people, ready to work in different teams and with different leaders, are ready for independent learning or for employment and drama at TSAS will continue to support students in developing these skills.'

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The new arts facility is the second of three planned centres of excellence at Thorpe St Andrew School. The technology excellence centre has been the hub for technology education for the high school and local primary schools since 2005/6, and a business excellence centre is on schedule to begin construction at Easter, replacing old 'mobile' classrooms with a suite of rooms that reflect modern business and enterprise culture.

• Do you have a school story? Contact education correspondent Victoria Leggett on 01603 772468 or email victoria.leggett@archant.co.uk

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