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Princess sets the scene...

Ham and High, March 22, 1991

'There was no curtain but stainless steel doors slid back with a theatrical flourish to reveal the new workshop extension to the Central School of Speech and Drama.

'Officially opened by patron Princess Alexandra last Thursday, the workshop, which cost a total of £477,000, took just six months to build and was described by principal Robert Fowler as "a symbol of triumph against all the odds".

'Most of the money came from the Polytechnics and Colleges Funding Council in the form of a £315,000 grant, one of just seven given by the council in its first year of operation, the rest of the cost being made up by the school.

'The workshop has already seen the start of the new courses in scenic art, stage carpentry and stage design. Princess Alexandra watched the new students working on scenery for the current production of Bernard Shaw's Major Barbara.

'"The workshop has already made a huge contribution to the life of the theatre in the school," chairman of the governors Laurence Harbottle told visitors.

'For the second phase of the five-storey building, on the land owned partly by Eton College and Camden Council, the school needs to find £1,192,000. It is negotiating with the PCFC for more money and hopes to attract sponsorship for the new work which will incorporate new wardrobe space and classrooms and take the number of pupils from 490 to 600 by 1995.

'After visiting the workshop, which backs on to the main Embassy Theatre and was designed by Hugh Cullum and Richard Nightingale of Judd Street, King's Cross, Princess Alexandra watched A Light Romance, a bouncy mini-musical written and directed by Nick Phillips and performed by students Faith Flint, Julie Hewlett, Selina Griffiths, Nick Waring and Simon Wolfe.'