SOUTH WOODFORD: Drama centre expands while facing cuts

A SOUTH Woodford drama centre is holding an open day to showcase its recent expansion.

The new-look Redbridge Drama Centre, in Churchfields, South Woodford will be opening its doors on June 23 for the public to come and see what the centre has to offer.

Pankaj Pathak, secretary of the Friends of RDC, said: "This is a really big opportunity for the people of Redbridge who aren't familiar with what the centre has to offer to come and see what we do."

The council-run drama centre received a cash injection of £225,000 from the Arts Council of England last year and just over £85,000 worth of Council-funding.

The expansion means it is now able to offer more in-house productions and expand what it has to offer to young people.

The new building consists of a large new foyer, extra rooms and a dedicated circus space where an in-house circus has been planned.

Activities at the open day will include presenting a weather forecast, a myths and monsters drama workshop, a zumba taster session, circus skills and Bollywood dancing.

Mr Pathak added: "This is a real paradox. The centre is expanding, while facing cuts over the next three years.

"The council's aim is for us to be self-sufficient in three years' time and we are trying hard to fight these cuts.

"I always believe that the teaching of drama is more than acting.

"It is about self-confidence, assertiveness - drama prepares you for interviews, public speaking, and gives you inter-personal skills that main areas of the curriculum simply don't provide.

"The centre has been life-changing for many young people in our borough and beyond."

The centre will also launch a week-long youth theatre festival which includes performances and plays, which will be launched by the Mayor of Redbridge Cllr Muhammed Javed at 7pm.

Redbridge Drama Centre was on the brink of closure after the council threatened dramatic cuts earlier in the year.

The council backed down at the last minute and extended the cuts to take place over four years instead of three, resulting in £267,000 being cut from the budget by 2015.

The open day starts at 2pm and runs until 8pm.

To find out more about the centre visit redbridgedramacentre.co.uk.

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