Sadness as curtain falls on drama school after 15 years

End of an era for budding young thespians ... and Intrepid production of Pocahontas
End of an era for budding young thespians ... and Intrepid production of Pocahontas

Intrepid, the professionally run performing arts company for children and young people in Lewes, has announced the closure of Theatre Centre, its Saturday drama school.

Owner Richard Hawley has spoken of his sadness at having to make the decision after 15 years.

It has operated for the past two years at Southover Primary School and was formerly at the All Saints Centre after starting its existence at the now closed YMCA building.

Mr Hawley said: “ I have tried several times over the years to engage local authorities, schools and funding organisations with a proposal for a performing arts centre and I have suggested some viable locations and worked with some good people to help make it happen. But unfortunately we met a lot of resistance. This is a great shame as Lewes could do with one and it would be well used, I feel sure.”

Theatre Centre went out on a high this month, said Mr Hawley. “This last year has been one of the best,” he said. “This month some of the children took a Trinity College (London) Speech and Drama exam. Nine children received Distinctions and three received very high Merits – which is just great for everyone involved.”

He added: “I have experienced tremendous loyalty over the years with many children attending classes for many years. Our Easter workshops were a sell-out and the upcoming Summer Camp is nearly sold out too.

“However, hire prices keep on rising and children just have so much choice these days. I don’t advertise and so all my activities are based on recommendations – that’s something I am proud of but I have noticed it has become harder to invite new children into the Intrepid experience.

“In my time running Theatre Centre I have worked with many great local people and I thank each one of them for their kindness, expertise and support. And I thank the parents for their commitment and loyalty.”