Theatre producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh has announced a gift of £1 million to Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in London.
His gift ensures the completion of Mountview’s new home in Peckham, including a 200-seat main auditorium to be named the Cameron Mackintosh Theatre in honour of this incredibly generous gift. The theatre will present over 20 student productions annually as well as hosting work from professional companies and community groups.
Mountview Chairman Vikki Heywood CBE said: “This extraordinary gift is game-changing for Mountview. Cameron’s generosity provides us with our first main house theatre in our 75-year history. His commitment to training the next generation of talented actors and theatre technicians, from wherever they come, is perfectly in tune with the vision of our Principal, Stephen Jameson and Executive Director, Sarah Preece. The Cameron Mackintosh Theatre will provide an ideal space for the training and showcasing of our exceptionally talented students for generations to come.”
Cameron Mackintosh added: “I am delighted to support the completion of Mountview’s spectacular and ambitious renaissance in its striking new home in Southwark. It was an inspired idea to relocate this long-established drama school into an exciting and diverse borough of London, far away from the leafy affluent suburbs where drama schools are usually sited. The vision of the school’s Principal, Stephen Jameson, vigorously supported by their brilliant Chair, Vikki Heywood and her Board, including my industry colleagues such as André Ptaszynski, together with their President Dame Judi Dench, have convinced me that Mountview is on track to enjoy a brilliant new era as one of Britain’s finest Drama schools, harnessing thrilling raw talent from every corner of society and preparing them for a great career in both drama and musical theatre. A lot has been written recently, sometimes unfairly, about careers in the theatre being out of reach to anyone who is not from a well-heeled background. The new Mountview will prove that to get on, you don’t have to be posh. You just have to be good.”
One of the UK’s most diverse drama schools, Mountview holds a reputation for opening its doors to exceptionally talented youngsters – half of whom receive a means-tested bursary to enable them to train. Mountview has been training actors, musical theatre performers and production artists since 1945. With 90% of students from across the UK, Mountview also attracts students from all over the world with 33 countries currently represented. Alumni include Eddie Marsan, Amanda Holden, Michael Longhurst (newly appointed Artistic Director of the Donmar Warehouse), playwright Ayub Khan-Din and Giles Terera.
The £1 million gift completes a £6.5 million fundraising campaign which has enabled Mountview to build its £30 million home in Peckham. The new school provides 21 dance and acting studios, two theatres, TV and sound recording studios, as well as production and set building facilities, all of which will be used to teach the next generation of theatre artists as well as being available for use by the local community of Peckham. The capital campaign has been championed by Stephen Daldry, Olivia Colman, Dame Twiggy Lawson and Mountview’s President Dame Judi Dench.
The completion of the campaign means Mountview can now focus on raising bursaries and hardship funds to support training for the most talented students, both on and off-stage.