New £4million Cidermill Theatre opens at Chipping Campden School
Chipping Campden School opened its multi-million pound performance arts centre, the Cidermill Theatre on Friday. Gill Sutherland went along to try out the comfy seats…
A DAZZLING new theatre opened at Chipping Campden School on Friday with a celebratory launch party.
Named after a nearby road and referencing the town’s historic cider apple orchards, the Cidermill Theatre cost £4million overall. The school raised £2million through selling land and £2million came from charitable trusts (including major sponsor The Rockspring Charitable Trust), foundations and community fundraising and local businesses.
Herald Arts was at the launch event, and between munching on delicious canapés – served by charming students clad in fetching purple Cidermill T-shirts – and sipping the free fizz, we were gobsmacked by the stylish theatre which will be a huge asset to the school.
All three of my children have gone to Campden and so I have watched many a drama production in the acoustically-compromised, sometimes draughty/often stuffy main hall at Campden, that also doubles up as assembly room and canteen… That lingering school dinner aroma blighted many dramatic moment. So stepping into the Cidermill felt akin to entering Wonderland.
The new facilities are intended for both school and community use, and include the Rockspring Auditorium with a professional audio and lighting system and retractable seating for an audience of 292, an amphitheatre for seating of up to 100, the Rhubarb Lounge for intimate performances, a fully equipped dance studio, black box studio, classroom and rehearsal areas, dressing rooms and a café and bar.
One of the chief drivers behind the project is old Campden alumni Edward Bennett – the RSC actor cites the influence his then drama teacher setting him on his chosen career path.
A charming conversationalist he spoke enthusiastically about at last seeing the theatre come to fruition (see right).