Inspired students from Sussex Downs College in Lewes rise to the challenge

Two inspired young students at Sussex Downs College in Lewes have reached dizzy heights in the arts world.

They have won through to the prestigious final of the Royal Opera House Tosca Design Challenge.

Sussex Downs College, Lewes. 'Two Sussex Downs students in final of Royal Opera House design challenge

Sussex Downs College, Lewes. 'Two Sussex Downs students in final of Royal Opera House design challenge

Lydia Crossey and Beth Dillon are both studying Production Arts at Sussex Downs. They are finalists in the Set Design and Costume Design categories of the contest, thanks to a 50:1 scale stage diorama and a stunning full-length red dress.

Facilitated by the ROH, the National Skills Academy and Sussex Downs College’s very own Lewes Youth Theatre, the pair will travel to the world-famous venue on February 28 to find out whether their shortlisted entries have been successful.

The top prize is a work experience placement at the Royal Opera House itself.

Sherry Russell, head of Lewes Sixth Form, said: “Sussex Downs Lewes College Production students have done exceedingly well to be shortlisted in the National Skills Academy and Royal Opera House design competition. It is an indication of the aspirational standards expected of students and the support and encouragement received from their teachers.”

Head of Production Arts at Sussex Downs and founder of Lewes Youth Theatre, Philip Rhodes, said: “This was a massive task and both students have risen to the challenge way above and beyond their studies here.

“Their design concepts and finished work are incredible and were highly commended by the ROH judge. Just completing the process alone is a credit to Lydia and Beth’s commitment who both want to move into the design area of Production Arts.

“What better way to prove it than what they have achieved here … fingers crossed for both of them.”