Central School of Ballet announces naming of new Southwark building in honour of patron HRH The Countess of Wessex

27 Feb 2020

HRH The Countess of Wessex visited Central School of Ballet’s new premises in Southwark which will be named in her honour, ‘The Countess of Wessex Studios’

Central School of Ballet, the world-leading professional dance training organisation and part of the renowned Conservatoire for Dance and Drama, announced today, 27 February 2020, that its new bespoke premises in Paris Garden in the London Borough of Southwark, part of the South Bank arts community, will be named after the school’s Royal Patron, HRH The Countess of Wessex.  The Countess visited Paris Garden during the morning of 27 February, met students, staff and supporters, and unveiled a plaque for the new building which will now be known as “The Countess of Wessex Studios”.  This reflects Central’s sincere gratitude for the continued interest and support provided by Her Royal Highness for the project and its broad objectives for exemplary dance industry training and benefit to the local community.

Students on Central’s undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes will begin using the new South Bank premises during the summer term in a phased move from the school’s existing home in Clerkenwell, with the school being fully operational there in the new academic year in September.

The new Paris Gardens premises will feature amenities to rival dance training facilities anywhere in the UK; seven studios, a fully equipped studio theatre, study and resource centres.  The fit-out will include a state-of-the-art health suite providing psychology, nutrition, physiotherapy, Pilates and recovery from injury programme.   The aim is to become a hub for a dynamic dance community combining excellence in dance training for those aiming for a professional career and a programme of opportunities for the local Southwark community.

Central currently runs a thriving community at its current premises in Clerkenwell.  Over 1200 people use Central’s facilities each week; from students training for a professional career in dance to children taking their first steps in ballet and adults using dance to improve fitness and wellbeing. The new premises in the South Bank will over the next five years allow the school to offer dance classes to thousands more in the Southwark area and give the local community opportunity to see and take part in dance and other performances in the new Studio Theatre alongside a range of other programmes in the building.

Heidi Hall, Director of Central School of Ballet, said: Our much-anticipated move will allow Central to provide exceptional facilities to match our world-class training for the benefit of our degree level students, for young people with an early passion for dance and the wider community to enjoy for exercise or recreation.  Bringing everyone together in one place has been a long-held aim and we are forever grateful to The Countess for her support and enthusiasm as our Royal Patron.”

Heidi continued: “We also appreciate Southwark Council and Cllr Peter John for their support of Central’s work, and are thankful for all our loyal supporters who have believed in our passion and determination to deliver this project.”

Cllr Peter John, Leader of Southwark Council, said: “We are pleased to welcome the Central School of Ballet to Southwark as part of our growing reputation as a cultural destination. It is one of our key commitments that local people are able to benefit from the regeneration happening across the borough as well as offering access to world class entertainment.  Central has run a pilot satellite ballet school in the borough since 2012 in anticipation of their move.”