Over 150 guests attended a formal opening ceremony to celebrate the completion of the landmark Performance Hub at Walsall Campus.
The event included a University Chamber Choir performance, directed by Gareth Malone, who also unveiled the opening plaque. There was also an address by Chair of Governors Michael Elliott and Professor Geoff Layer, Vice-Chancellor, as well as tours of the facilities.
Dean of the University’s School of Sport, Performing Arts and Leisure (SSPAL), John Pymm, said: “It has taken seven years of careful planning and preparation to bring to reality the vision for this building.
“The Performance Hub is one of the most impressive performing arts buildings in the country. It shows how we’re investing in our students, our communities, our region and in the fast-growing creative industries sector of the British economy.
“We were delighted that Gareth Malone was able to make time in his very busy schedule to officiate at the opening ceremony. He is a musician of exceptional talent who has won the hearts of the nation through his choir work on television and we were thrilled to welcome him to open our out
Gareth found fame in the 2006 documentary series The Choir, which saw him bring music into the lives of students who had never sung before and ultimately taking them to compete in the World Choir Games in China. To date, this successful series has won two BAFTA awards and an RTS award. He has recently been on screen with BBC’s The Choir – Military Wives, bringing together women whose husbands are serving in Afghanistan.
He said: “It is a great honour to open this fabulous building. The University has remarkable students and this is an absolutely outstanding facility. It will set the students up for a life of musicianship and song, enhancing their lives and the society in which they live. I wish the students and all at the University the best of luck for the future.”
The event was also an opportunity to showcase the School’s prestigious Steinway pianos. Wolverhampton became only the third university in the UK to receive All-Steinway School status from the world-renowned piano manufacturers. A plaque was formally presented by Managing Director of Steinway and Sons UK, Craig Terry, at the launch to mark this status.
The Performance Hub has three main zones. The east wing features a new Learning Centre on the ground and first floors, dance and drama rehearsal spaces on the second floor, with the third floor providing music, practice rooms, recording studios and music technology suites. The West Wing comprises a ‘black box’ theatre space with associated dressing and changing rooms, a green room and additional performance spaces.
The four-storey building houses teaching and rehearsal spaces for SSPAL, which offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses, including dance, drama, music, sport and physical activity, leisure and tourism. It includes performance areas, music rooms, a Virtual Technology facility and staff offices.
It is the latest development at the University’s Walsall Campus, and has been built on the site of a former teaching tower and halls of residence, which were demolished in 2007.
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standing performing arts facilities.”