Posted on 06/02/2012
Students and staff, past and present, gathered in the Studio Theatre at Royal Holloway, University of London to say farewell to the theatre before it is demolished to make way for a multi-million pound replacement.
All week students have been respectfully painting the soon to be demolished building with farewell messages and fond memories before the final send off at a special event last night.
Toasts were made to commemorate the space that has offered so many opportunities and holds many fond memories to all who have used it.
Excitement surrounding the new project could not be contained and students were let loose – under careful supervision – with a sledgehammer to ‘cast the first stone’ of its demolition.
Grace Holliday, Social Secretary for the Student Workshop, said: “I directed The History Boys in the Studio Theatre in 2009 and it holds a lot of incredible memories. However, the new theatre will offer so much more to drama and theatre students at Royal Holloway and be filled with even more amazing experiences.”
The Studio Theatre was built in 1981 for a mere £50,000. The space was only intended to be temporary whilst the Drama and Theatre Department waited on the refurbishment of the Boilerhouse Studio. However, 30 years later, it is still in use but in a state of rapid structural decline.
The time has now come to replace the theatre that has seen the likes of Mark Strong go on to achieve TV and Film success (Sherlock Holmes, Body of Lies, RocknRolla) and, BRIT Award winning musician KT Tunstall graduate from its midst.
Technical Production Managers both past and present paid their respects to the theatre and looked to the future. Nick Firth, designer of the Studio Theatre and Production Manager at the time it was first constructed, said: “There is some emotional attachment to theatre and sadness in seeing what I created destroyed. However, it is completely overshadowed by delight. Finally, after 30 years, the world class department will get the theatre that they deserve.”
Current Production Manager for the Drama and Theatre Department, Sean Brennan, who has worked in the Studio Theatre since 1999, said: “The space holds fantastic memories but I am really excited about working in a Foster Wilson designed theatre space.”