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Ash Manor School Unveils £4 million Performing Arts Centre 

Published on: 29 Sep, 2021
Updated on: 30 Sep, 2021

By David Reading

Ash Manor School is celebrating the opening of its new £4 million performing arts block – a project that will benefit the whole community as well as the school itself. 

The new building will primarily accommodate drama and music activities but also houses two science labs, with the current performing arts areas having been converted into classrooms. The overall plans will increase Ash Manor’s intake at entry-level by 30 pupils.

The new Performing Arts building at Ash Manor School part-funded by section 106 payments from local developments

As well as serving the school, the new arts block will also have community use such as the Brownies, karate and yoga. Local groups will be able to put on a show at affordable prices in a professional space.

Headteacher Agnes Bailey stressed the importance of drama and music for her pupils. She said: “Performing arts builds confidence and resilience in young people which is particularly important after what they’ve been through during the pandemic.

We are incredibly lucky to have such a wonderful facility and we hope the community enjoys it as much as we will.”

A large part of the cost of the Surrey County Council project comes from Section 106 funding, provided by developers building homes in the area. A Section 106 is a legal agreement between an applicant seeking planning permission and the local planning authority in order to mitigate the impact of new homes on the local community and infrastructure.

GBC’s lead councillor for Development Management, Cllr Tom Hunt, said: “A total of £1.07 million is available to improve the facilities at Ash Manor School through S106 contributions from planning applications in the area.”

Drama and music students unveiled the new facility last Wednesday (September 22) with performances that included scenes from Willy Russell’s musical Blood Brothers, a nature versus nurture story about twins separated at birth.

Future highlights include The Black History Show, a performing arts event with African folk tales, fables and songs by the school choir being performed by Year 7-11 students. The show is scheduled for Thursday, October 14 and starts at 7pm. Anyone wishing to attend can simply show up on the evening.

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