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Campaign to save Morley College drama course prevails

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Morley College’s famous drama course has been saved, following a campaign to prevent its closure as part of cost-cutting measures at the central London training institution.

The drama school was set up by Emma Cons and Lilian Baylis at the Old Vic in the 1880s. However, earlier this year, officials at the adult education college in Waterloo had said that they wanted to put the department’s studio theatre to other uses and it would have to close.

Now, following a campaign to save the course that received support from industry figures such as Ken Loach, Richard Wilson and Kevin Spacey, it will continue, albeit with a reduced provision.

Morley drama lecturer Dominic Grant said that around three quarters of the course has been retained, adding that the campaign, which included a video created by students for website youtube.com, had been influential in changing the college’s mind.

Grant explained: “The campaign was a huge success – 75% of drama at Morley College has been reinstated and it is a new offer that goes out this year. You might say that some of the unnecessary flesh has been taken off the bone.”

He added that the school was also planning a number of stand alone courses throughout the year, such as Acting Shakespeare, Mask and Mime and Public Speaking.

Morley principal Philip Meaden said: “I am delighted that drama courses will still be offered at Morley, in a way that allows both the subject to flourish and the college to achieve the consolidation that it needs. The recent cuts in funding for adult education have resulted in difficult decisions being taken across the country and it therefore even more pleasing that we have managed to find a way to continue the subject at the present time.”

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