Harrogate Ladies’ College Officially Opens Performing Arts Theatre
Harrogate Ladies’ College has officially opened its performing arts centre after a major refurbishment project.
Staff, pupils, parents and alumni at the school were joined by the Earl and Countess of Swinton for the official opening of the newly named, Swinton Theatre.
The name of the newly refurbished performing arts space was chosen by alumni of the school. The name recognises the generosity of the Swinton Estate in providing a temporary home for the school during World War 2 when the school’s buildings in Harrogate were requisitioned by the Ministry of Air Production. The school spent more than 6 years at Swinton Castle between 1939 and 1946 having packed up and moved the entire school, together with 300 pupils, with just 10 days’ notice.
Alumni were asked to choose a new name for the theatre after they donated money for the refurbishment project, along with current parents of the school.
As well as full re-decoration, the refurbishment project also included the installation of new sound and lighting technology to enhance the teaching and performances of drama, music and dance that take place in the space.
Principal of Harrogate Ladies’ College, Sylvia Brett said, “The generosity of the Swinton Estate in providing a home for the school during the war, is echoed in the generosity of our alumni and current parents in funding the refurbishment of this beautiful space.
“It was so fitting that the current Earl and Countess of Swinton were able to come to school to officially open the Swinton Theatre named in honour of their predecessors.
“It’s been wonderful over recent weeks to see pupils of all ages enjoying using the space to express themselves through performance. I never underestimate how brave pupils are when they step out onto a stage and I know that the confidence this gives them is something they will take with them beyond school and throughout life.”
The school has long established orchestral groups and choirs, including the Chapel Choir which is a previous runner up in the Songs of Praise School Choir of the Year competition and has performed in Durham, Barcelona, Prague and Venice cathedrals. The school has also recently formed the Harrogate Ladies’ College Dance Company to provide additional opportunities for pupils in this field of the performing arts.