06:25PM, Tuesday 22 February 2022
From left: Dr Andrew Morrison, Julia Bentley-Dawkes, Jennie Dawkes, Jon Dawkes, and Lynne Moore, head of operations at Furze Platt Senior School. Photo: A Plus Photography
Furze Platt Senior School invited VIPs to a sparkling reception and performance as it marked the official opening of its state-of-the-art new theatre.
Companies and individuals who donated significant sums to the building project joined headteacher Dr Andrew Morrison, staff and governors at the Furze Platt Road school on Wednesday last week before watching students from years seven-13 perform Matilda Jr.
Work on the theatre space at Furze Platt was completed in May 2020 during the first lockdown, with the school originally planning to open the theatre in autumn 2020.
But it was instead used as a COVID-19 school testing centre in March last year and has also been used for assemblies and exams, before officially being launched via the VIP performance last week.
A drinks and canapes reception was held in the new English and science block, before guests headed over to the new space.
Both buildings were funded by the Royal Borough as part of its school expansion programme, at a cost of approximately £9million.
Governors of the school provided most of the funding towards fitting out the theatre, however more money was needed. The school PTA, individuals and businesses helped raise another £34,000 through a crowdfunding campaign, to ensure the theatre was fully equipped.
Headteacher Dr Morrison said: “As we sit on the raked seating, watching the lights come up, I think we all appreciate that this is an amazing resource and one which our students and community will benefit from for years to come.
"Along with our school shows, music, dance and drama groups from across Maidenhead are using our fantastic venue to showcase their talent.
"At a time where the arts are being squeezed in schools, our theatre is a statement that Furze Platt is committed to the arts and to providing our students with opportunities to perform and develop themselves as fully rounded individuals.
"Moreover, as recent lockdowns have shown, the arts are essential in enabling students to work together to achieve spectacular results."
The new theatre gives Furze Platt students the opportunity to participate in the performing arts, while the school will also use it for careers fairs, open evenings and talks.
Outside school hours, it will be available to hire for bands, comedy, dance, music and drama groups. To hire the space, contact firstname.lastname@example.org