PARABOLA ARTS CENTRE - 10th ANNIVERSARY
In March 2020 we were preparing for the opening night of Grease! The Musical. The show had been enormous fun in rehearsal, and the nerves were beginning to tingle, but it was not to be. CLC along with the rest of the country, was overtaken by ‘lockdown’ and we were forced to cancel. It was a huge disappointment for everyone who had planned to be onstage, backstage or front of house that week. The opportunity to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Parabola Arts Centre has had to be postponed until a later date.
The PAC was the result of an ambitious vision to bring together the creative arts in a space that could be used not only by College, but also the wider community. The design has delivered on the requirement for versatility, providing a venue for art installations, masterclasses, recitals, corporate meetings, and extra-curricular clubs. The Cheltenham Festivals, and local businesses have welcomed the use of the space. As a theatre it provides equally well for large-scale or intimate productions, and it is equipped to a level that has enabled our pupils to hone their skills both as actors and as technicians.
The project was eagerly anticipated. Kristin Scott Thomas (Guild) helped to raise its profile, and over 1000 people supported it financially. We raised almost £3 million through the generosity of Guild members, parents and friends, and we would like to reiterate our grateful thanks, ten years on, to every person who contributed in any way.
PAC was officially opened on 3 October 2009 in the august company of Sir Richard and Lady Eyre. The opening season saw the performance of Thérèse, written and directed by Fiona Ross and based on Emile Zola’s novel, Thérèse Raquin, which the girls then took to the Edinburgh Fringe; our pianists were thrilled to perform in the first concert on a new Fazioli grand piano which had been generously donated by a CLC parent; and we commissioned a play by the renowned playwright, Sharman MacDonald, Lu Lah, Lu Lah, which told the story of a group of factory workers in 1930s Dundee learning to dance the tango.
Since that auspicious start, ten years ago, our girls have embraced the opportunities presented by such a professional facility to learn more about the performing arts and, ultimately about themselves. The skills learnt will stand them in good stead, not only in the theatre or concert hall, but also on the podium, at interview, in the boardroom, or in any number of situations where presentation is key.
Renewing its commitment to the disciplines of Music, Drama, Dance and Art, College has created a brand new post: Director of Creative Arts. Mrs Patricia Stead has been appointed to be a visible supporter of the arts in College, highlighting the strategic and educational importance of these disciplines. She will also lead outreach work with local schools and community groups, maximising the potential of the Parabola Arts Centre as it enters its second decade.