Stoke Newington School and Sixth Form celebrated its new state-of-the-art theatre renovation with a sold out performance of the musical Oliver on Wednesday 15 January.
A pre-show ceremony was attended by Deputy Mayor of Hackney Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, Hackney Director of Education Annie Gammon and The Speaker of Hackney Councillor Kam Adams. The theatre was officially reopened by the family of Damian Lunn, a former drama teacher at the school who passed away in 2009, and after whom the theatre is named.
The £700,000 refurbishment funded by Hackney Council includes industry-standard lighting and audio-visual systems, modernised ventilation systems, acoustics improvements, mirrors in the drama studio and a full redecoration – making it one of the best of its kind in Hackney. Students will get hands-on experience with the lighting desk, learn how to manipulate and record sounds, and to use professional digital audio software.
Headteacher of the school, Zehra Jaffer, said:
“We are truly delighted to be able to offer this wonderful new facility to our students and the local community. Creativity and the arts are integral parts of our curriculum and every single one of our diverse cohort of students will benefit from having access to a theatre with state-of-the-art equipment. We are hugely grateful that we are able to honour Damian Lunn with such an excellent space that will support his legacy of a high quality inclusive arts programme for all. I want to thank Hackney Learning Trust, Hackney Council, Opus Building Services and of course, our wonderful staff and students for the most amazing performance of Oliver!”
Drama teacher and director of the Oliver, Kimberley Chatterley said:
“It’s been an absolute pleasure putting on our school production of Oliver in the newly renovated Damian Lunn Theatre.
“This is an exciting time at Stoke Newington School; the facilities are fantastic and provide enriching opportunities for our diverse cohort of students. We are excited about making future links with the creative industries and the community.”
The show was sold out for its entire four-day run, raising over £6000 for the drama department.