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Top bands could rehearse in Thurrock
8:00am Saturday 6th October 2012 in News
SOME of the world’s biggest bands could be destined for Thurrock thanks to the opening of a £13.7million rehearsal centre.
Neighbouring the impressive Royal Opera House workshop in Purfleet, the state-of-the-art Backstage Centre, which opened last Monday, will allow local students to get close to the stars while learning what it takes to put on mind-blowing shows.
It will be a training area for 16 to 19-year-olds who are studying related courses at colleges in the area, as well as being a fully functional rehearsal space for the great and the good in the music and theatre industries.
The project, which started in 2008, has been managed by Creative and Cultural Skills, the Government’s skills sector council. It secured funding for the building after commissioning a report called the Creative Blueprint, that found there was a gap between industry practice and the education of skills.
Robin Auld, the project’s operations director, said: “There are existing spaces like this one, but they’re not as good and don’t mix skills development with industry practice.
“In 2008, from the Creative Blueprint, we formed a business plan for this centre that could be a headquarters for skills, that would fill the holes identified within the blueprint.
“This centre is driven by the industry and that’s what sets us apart from other rehearsal spaces.”
The result of that business plan is an awe-inspiring, cube-shaped building that includes a music studio suspended from the frame of the building to eliminate vibration, rehearsal rooms and several training rooms, such as a CAD room to design sets digitally.
A huge rehearsal space is the centre’s focal point.
It has metre thick walls, sound proofing and an impressive “fly loft” above, which is strong enough to hold several tonnes, meaning large items of scenery can be suspended from the roof.
Throughout the building, there are mind-boggling examples of attention to detail. The idea has been to replicate the set-up of various theatres across the UK, better preparing students for the industry itself.
Before long, Purfleet could be the place to come for those developing the most spectacular live shows in the world. Whether that be operas, West End musicals or even the world’s most famous pop stars coming to rehearse arena tours.
Mr Auld added: “There’s a perception that there’s not much happening in south Essex and Purfleet, but we’re changing that.”
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