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East 15 Acting School

Clifftown Theatre and Clifftown Studios

Nelson Street, Southend-on-Sea, SS1 1EF
Box Office: 01702 328335

East 15 Acting School and the University of Essex will celebrate the opening of the new Clifftown Theatre and Clifftown Studios in Southend-on-Sea on Friday 29 January 2010.

The University of Essex has bought and completely refurbished and redesigned, in conjunction with architects Thomas Ford and Partners, the interior of a major church in the city centre. At the same time the school will unveil itself, after two and a half years of restructuring and major new building work, in its new identity as one of the largest schools in the UK, with the most dynamic, forward-looking actor and director and filmmaking profile in the UK. There are over 650 students and 14 different training degrees with students from all over the world.

The event will be led by artistic director Leon Rubin and collaborators include playwright Jonathan Lichtenstein, composer Colin Sell and fight director Nicholas Hall. Alumni include Damon Albarn, Alison Steadman, Stephen Daldry, Ruth Sheen.

Leon Rubin has been Artistic Director of 3 UK theatres, including the Bristol Old Vic, is a former Associate at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, and began his career as Assistant Director at the RSC. He is author of The Nicholas Nickleby Story (the making of the RSC production). He has directed 5 Shakespeare productions at Stratford Ontario. He has directed ‘Phuket Fantasea’ a 100 cast extravaganza which is Thailand’s biggest ever production and is now in its 10th year.

Jonathan Lichtenstein’s plays include ‘The Pull of Negative Gravity’ Traverse Edinburgh Fringe First and New York. Colin Sell is most known for the weekly BBC Radio 4, ‘I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue’. Nicholas Hall’s recent credits include ‘Peter Pan’ O2/Kensington Gardens, Oliver! Theatre Royal Drury Lane and ‘Tristan & Isolde’ Glyndebourne.

“The contribution of East 15 actors to the British theatre, television, and film over the past decades has been immense. Several generations of brilliant young actors and actresses have come out of this highly original conservatoire.” Mike Leigh OBE

“If you don’t have access to actors, how is a director ever to learn? The value of a school that teaches theatre and film is enormous.” Sir Richard Eyre CBE

“East 15’s new MA/MFA in Filmmaking is a fantastic initiative and a valuable addition to the UK’s independent film industry. I believe this course can only add to East 15’s exceptionally high standard of training.” Mark Herman (Brassed Off, Little Voice & The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas)

Instead of a ribbon-cutting ceremony there will be a massive theatre performance over a complete weekend. The project will involve over 250 actors from East 15, the entire technical department, 10 theatre designers from Wimbledon School of Art and Design and 10 directors, led by Leon Rubin, Director of East 15. The performances will take place simultaneously in all areas of the new Clifftown Theatre and Studios and will show different cultures and moments in history that have led to the creation of today’s Britain. The zones will focus on the Romans, Jewish, Irish, Caribbean, Chinese, Soviet, East European, Huguenots, Pakistani and other groups. The audience can pass through the many worlds and cultures throughout the building.

Running time: 1 hour 30 mins
Performance times: Fri 29th Jan 7.30pm, Sat 30th Jan 2.00pm, 5.00pm & 7.30pm, Sun 31st Jan 2.00pm & 5.00pm

29 January 2010