Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts looks set to move into a Grade II-listed town hall in north London following a refurbishment project worth £19 million.
Haringey Council has backed plans for the drama school, whose alumni include Amanda Holden and Oliver Thornton, to move into Hornsey Town Hall in Crouch End. The building, currently listed on English Heritage’s Buildings At Risk register, will be restored as part of the multimillion pound project.
Mountview principal Sue Robertson said she hopes the school will move into the new site by the beginning of the 2014/15 academic year.
She said the refurbished building would include two new performance venues – a studio and a larger theatre space. At the moment, at its current premises in Wood Green, the school has one “tiny” studio space.
Robertson told The Stage: “We will have really state of the art facilities, we hope, for our students, so we’ll be at the cutting edge in terms of our physical facilities as well as our teaching. At the moment our facilities don’t keep pace with our reputation.”
Mountview will have to raise in excess of £10 million towards the move, according to Robertson. The principal said a fundraising campaign would start immediately, commenting that her team would have to work “extremely hard” to meet its target in the current economic climate.
Hornsey Town Hall is owned by Haringey Council, which proposes to grant Mountview a 125-year lease on the property and charge a peppercorn rent. In exchange, the school plans to make available spaces currently not open to the public.
Haringey Council’s cabinet has agreed to move ahead with Mountview’s proposals. A new planning application will be submitted for the site and will be subject to planning approval by the council and English Heritage.
Mountview was established in 1945 as a drama club in Crouch End so, by relocating to Hornsey Town Hall, it will be returning to its original area.
Joe Goldberg, Haringey Council cabinet member for finance and sustainability, said: “The building itself will be beautifully restored and cared for, Mountview will be back at its home in the heart of Crouch End, there will be community access, a fantastic arts programme, and an influx of students and visitors which will bring vibrancy to the area. It really is a complete package.”