Monday, 3 February 2014

Camden and RADA secure future of Drill Hall

Camden Council will help to secure the future of the Drill Hall, a historic community arts venue in Bloomsbury in a proposed deal with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA).

In the deal, RADA will be able to buy a 125-year lease for the grade-II listed Drill Hall on Chenies Street from freeholders Camden.

RADA are current leaseholders of the venue - which is now known as RADA Studios - and granting the long-term lease will help to attract funding to refurbish the theatre and teaching space, and to create hostel accommodation for first year students.

Funds raised by the sale of the lease will contribute towards the improvements of homes, schools, and community facilities in the borough through Camden’s Community Investment Programme (CIP). 

Originally built in 1882 for the Territorial Army, in the early 1900s Drill Hall hosted the Ballet Russe, and Gang Shows during the war years.

During the 1980s Central Arts Ltd took over the management of the building and it underwent a revamp to be used as a community arts centre, with rehearsal and performance spaces, and significant outreach and educational programmes. During this time the venue gained an international reputation for being at the forefront of experimental and gay theatre.

RADA moved into the premises in 2012 and has maintained the use of the building for teaching and performance uses including TV and radio recordings, auditions for West End musicals and community classes.

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