Friday, 22 November 2013

The end... But only of the beginning

So, here I am. Sat in a gutted out office with an almost empty college building behind me, save for a few boxes and bits left in each room. Today was our final day at the Myra McCulloch Building, which has been our home for the last few years and which has seen the opening of our Foundation Course in Acting, our 3rd successive year of 100% success rates on the Foundation Course in Musical Theatre, our accreditation for the 6th Form, and the continued growth and development of Read College as we know know it.  But this is no end of an era, and no time for looking backwards.

We are embarking on one of the most exciting projects that we have ever undertaken, and it all starts now. In our quest to find a viable, permanent home for Read College, we have met dozens of artists and arts organisations in Reading who also find themselves without decent spaces from which to operate. From dance schools to charities, and from painters to performers, there is no facility in the town at the present time to accommodate the amazing activites of the creative community.

That's why we have decided that our new building, when it opens, won't be just a home for Read; it will be a home for the Arts. Our vision is of a collaborative space, where one group can interact and engage with another and where we can all share our passion and expertise with one another, and that's why we are currently in consultation with several community, local, and professional arts organisations who are likely to become our Artist in Residence groups.

A fantastic site has been identified for the project right in the heart of Reading town centre, and we are currently in talks with the land agents to secure a deal on the building. There is a lot of buzz around the project, and we are so excited that Read College has a chance to stand up and be counted on behalf of the arts community in the town.

We now have a 15 month fundraising project to help raise the money needed to transform the building, which is currently empty and unused, into Arts Space Reading. This is no small task but, if any group of people is going to make it happen then it's the extraordinarily supportive and hard-working staff, trustees and supporters of Read College!

Whilst all of this goes on, we are so grateful to our Head of Jazz, Michelle Legg, who has kindly taken the college in to her beautiful TPAI Studios in Reading (in a stunning location with the main studio overlooking lakes!). Our wonderful students have been helping the staff with the move, which is being done entirely on our own using volunteers so that we can save every penny to be invested in our Student Hardship Fund.

Without the kindness of the staff and students this would be a tricky time. As it is - thanks entirely to the supportive and endlessly creative people around us who make up Read Dance and Theatre College - it is one of the most exciting and inspiring times in the college's history.

I look forward to keeping you up to date with our news...

For the final time from the Myra McCulloch Building,


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