South Hill Park Arts Centre goes global
Established in 1973, Bracknell’s ‘Jewel in the Crown’ – the South Hill Park Arts Centre – is incredibly proud to serve its local community – providing full-scale educational facilities for around 24 LAMDA students and nurturing the talents of at least 2,000 part-timers of all ages, each year. A non-stop annual entertainment programme of around 120 theatre productions in its own Wilde Theatre has meant that more people have visited the Centre in the 2018/19 year to date than ever before.
South Hill Park aims to deliver five of its own highly popular productions annually, which this year have included the smash-hit show Disney High School Musical, its own renowned in-house production of Shakespeare’s Macbeth and an atmospheric but family-orientated Summer holidays rendering of Grimm Tales, the spellbinding adaptation of several of the Grimm Brothers’ best known tales such as Cinderella and Hansel and Gretel. The Centre’s Christmas Pantomime always attracts huge family audiences – with tickets for the Aladdin magical carpet ride already on sale.
“We firmly believe the arts have the ability to bring communities together and cultivate cohesion” says Mark Hooper, Head of Learning and Participation at South Hill Park. “We are now in the position to be able to transverse borders, and in doing so, can bring together different cultures and nationalities – to achieve something special and inspirational.”
Into Europe – a timely partnership
“Looking to the future, we have recently formed two important and ongoing creative relationships” continues Mark. “These are enabling South Hill Park to work with international partners for mutual benefit. Firstly, we have teamed up with the London-based Icarus Theatre Collective to give nine of our young students the chance to travel to France and Italy in order to explore the notion of what it means to be European; a particularly pertinent question at this time. The lucky participants will meet with European counterparts to respond artistically to questions set, share ideas, create theatre and develop new international relationships. South Hill Park will host the UK leg of the trip in one month and we are looking forward to meeting all of the young people participating in this once-in-a- lifetime experience.”
South Hill Park has also developed a relationship with Rubies International College, a school based in Lagos, Nigeria. In April, a group of six teenage students from the school travelled to the UK to take part in High School Musical, with great success. “We have been working hard over the last few months to build on this achievement” continues Mark, “And can now confirm that a further group of nine students will be joining us for our Summer School adventure.”
Far Eastern associations
As well as these relationships, we are also proud of two of our associate companies Hit The Mark Theatre and Blackeyed Theatre who toured China over the month of June. Hit The Mark Theatre toured a production of their award winning family musical ‘AnimAlphabet’ across Southern China directed and co-produced by their very own Associate Director Mark Hooper. Meanwhile, Adrian McDougall’s Blackeyed Theatre spent one month touring Beijing to Changzhou with Sherlock Holmes: The Sign of Four.
We are proud to have supported both Hit The Mark Theatre and Blackeyed Theatre as associate companies of our venue.
“Working on an international stage, we are now garnering a reputation globally, with partners and arts establishments across the globe recognising the quality and rich educational and artistic facilities and support provided by South Hill Park” says Mark Hooper. “These co-operative activities also add richness and diversity to our local community – as cultures, languages and artists come together to create and share unique work.”