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Performing Arts and Science Centre opened by Earl of Wessex, 23/1/14

Published Monday 3rd of February 2014 12:10:45 PM

The Earl of Wessex visited The Leys, Cambridge (January 23rd, 2014) to open the school's £9.5 million performing arts and science Centre, Great Hall.

The Cambridge University-educated Earl, well-known for his interest in the performing arts, was the guest of the school's new headmaster, Martin Priestley. Mr Priestley and the Head Boy and Head Girl, showed the Earl around the new development which was completed after a major fundraising campaign by the Leys School community.

Mr Priestley's predecessor, Mark Slater, who retired in December 2013 after nine and a half years in the post, was among the guests. Mr Priestley paid tribute to Mr Slater, saying: 'Great Hall was his vision and stands now as his legacy.'

The Earl of Wessex chatted to pupils and staff, looked in on dance, drama and science lessons, and saw pupils working in the theatre's control room before joining a reception for more than 150 former pupils and supporters to watch pupils give musical and drama performances on stage.

Old Leysian Stephen Levy, a Tony Award-winning West End and Broadway theatre producer, said of Great Hall: 'It's important because the students that are here now represent the next generation of the theatre and the degree to which they succeed depends upon the degree to which they were prepared, and I can think of no school that has any theatre that can compare with what has been created here. It's truly an achievement for the school.'

Great Hall features a flexible auditorium which serves as a 337-seat theatre and a 600-seat school hall, plus drama and dance classrooms and studios and science laboratories and a rooftop experiment space.

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