Lyric wins grant for new facilities

DSC00819 The Lyric Theatre has been given £3m to launch a new course and build new facilities.

The project, which will cost a total of £15m, involves building an extension above the western side of the theatre, directly over Mothercare in King's Mall, Hammersmith, and next to the Ashcroft Square estate.

The Lyric's executive director Jessica Hepburn says the grant will help the Lyric to offer a nationally recognised creative and media diploma to young people aged 14 to 19. The £3m grant comes from the Department of Children, Schools and Families (DCSF)., the Lyris must raise the remainder themselves and have the centre running by the end of 2011.

"This will transform the Lyric into a new type of cultural and educational building which will be the first of its kind in the UK," Jessica says.

The building will include a 60-seat cinema for filmmaking students, four large rehearsal studios including a dance studio with sprung floors, a computer suite, artists' greenroom and several smaller sound-proofed rehearsal and practice rooms.

The new diploma will be a vocational qualification lasting either one or two years. It will include standard subjects such as maths and English, as well as courses taught by arts professionals.

Jessica hopes the diploma could also act as a stepping stone for young people to embark on the Lyric's Creative Apprenticeship programme, which is likely to accept up to 10 young people each year.

"It will be like an old-fashioned apprenticeship where you work for one or two years and learn on job," Jessica said. "There are various lines such as technical theatre, education, venue management or costumes."

Jessica said the new facility would also offer a range of shorter courses for young people, increasing its reach across the community. "It will massively increase our number of young people at the Lyric – we have about 10,000 a year at the moment, but we will be able to increase that to 40,000," she said.

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