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Drama school closes suddenly leaving staff redundant and students abandoned

CPA founder Colin Putz. Photo: Eliza Power
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Drama school CPA Studios has closed suddenly blaming “financial challenges”, leaving staff out of work and students with nowhere to train.

CPA Studios, which comprises CPA School and CPA College, informed students on August 7 that the school had stopped operating, blaming financial difficulties. Founded by Colin Putz, it has been operating for more than 30 years and former students include Jessie J, Jack Shalloo and James Buckley, from The Inbetweeners.

It said in an email to students: “Due to this [the financial difficulties], CPA Studios will be unable to provide further tuition to all students.”

The school said that students going into second or third year could ask for their details to be shared with other accredited schools that may have spaces.

Anyone who has paid fees for the new academic term will be refunded, it said.

“Please be aware that we have worked tirelessly to stop this happening but have now reached a point where the business can no longer operate,” it said, adding: “Although we can appreciate that this will difficult to digest we hope you will not be deterred and will continue to hone your talents and work towards a bright future within the performing arts.”

Nick Crossley. head of dance at CPA Studios, told The Stage he had worked for CPA for four years.

He said that staff were currently doing what they could to ensure all 52 students at the school were able to get places on other training courses.

“As staff,  we are trying to coordinate our efforts to make sure all the students that want to continue training have the option to continue training,” he said, adding that the industry had been supporting their efforts. He said the industry had been “generous and helpful”.

“People have been wonderful. We are devastated the students won’t be able to continue training with us, but I don’t consider that, just because the business has ended,  my duty of care to those students has gone with it,” he said.

Course director Lyndsay Barnbrook described it as an “end of an era”.

“What can I say except that it is an end of an era. Today we received the very sad news that CPA will be closing its doors for good. 35 years for the school, 20 for the college, nine for me – it has meant a lot to a lot of people,” she wrote on Twitter.

She added: “We now have 52 amazing college students looking to be ‘re-homed’ – and many incredible freelance staff too. If any of my industry friends know of any places available, please let me know so that I can help to guide them through this horrible process.”

Since the news broke, other drama institutions have rallied to support students who have been left with nowhere to train.

The Musical Theatre Academy tweeted it had “limited places if students that are suddenly left without a college place are looking”.

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