multi-million pound performing arts centre at the University of
Wolverhampton has been officially opened by TV choirmaster Gareth
Over 150 guests attended a formal opening ceremony to celebrate
the completion of the landmark Performance Hub at Walsall
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
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 outstanding performing arts
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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