London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art has launched a £28 million redevelopment at its west London campus that will see the school gain two new theatres.
Much of the Baron’s Court campus – described by a school spokesperson as “exceedingly dilapidated” – was demolished in December last year to make way for a new building.
The development will house a 200-seat theatre and a flexible 120-seat studio space, in addition to a film and audio editing suite, 10 rehearsal studios and a new library and study centre.
The school currently only has one 70-seat studio space on site, and has to stage larger performances at theatres elsewhere in London.
LAMDA principal Joanna Read said: “Our goal is simple: to train exceptional dramatic artists and to inspire and empower young people across the globe. Our students shape the future of the industry worldwide and soon we will have the facilities to match the exceptional work they do.”
Several of the academy’s alumni – including Janet Suzman, Patricia Hodge and Timothy West – attended a ceremony today to mark the start of construction work at the site.
Culture secretary Sajid Javid also attended the event, and said in a speech: “Britain’s artists are recognised around the world and make a massive contribution to our £80 billion creative industries, so it’s vital that we continue to invest in the talent of tomorrow.”
LAMDA took over its current building from the Royal Ballet Upper School in 2003, and received planning permission to develop the site in 2009.
The academy has raised more than 80% of the £28.2 million renovation costs but still has to gather £4.8 million to pay for the project, which the school’s Act Now! campaign is aiming to raise from private and corporate donations.
Construction work is expected to finish on the new campus in July next year, with hopes it will open in time for the autumn intake of new students.
Earlier this year, Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts dropped a £19 million plan to move into a grade II*-listed town hall in north London.
The drama school had been developing plans with Haringey Council to turn the former Hornsey Town Hall into its permanent home, but said the cost of restoring the venue was beyond the organisations’ “combined reach”.