19 October 2019 - 2 November 2019


Groundbreaking ceremony at Kent College

The Cutting of the Sod for the new Great Hall


Kent College has a longstanding commitment to the Arts, which was reinforced with the cutting of the first sod for a Great Hall – a new multi-purpose venue being built on their Canterbury campus.

The cutting-edge facility for worship, concerts and the performing arts was granted planning permission in 2017 following a local consultation. The state-of-the-art 600 seat auditorium will provide space for the whole school to worship and will be used as a versatile and practical space for the school’s highly regarded drama and music departments and for the wider local community.

The purpose engineered space draws on the latest in architectural design having the ability to expand or contract its foyer, reducing the seating to 389 for smaller performances and create space for exhibitions, galleries or entertaining. The building itself has a low-energy passive labyrinth heating and ventilation system, photo-voltaic cells and will be built to comply to the highest level of sustainability standards.

The cutting of the sod also marks a new partnership for the School -  a three-year sponsorship agreement with the prestigious Canterbury Festival.

Festival Director Rosie Turner commented:

“This is the beginning of a burgeoning relationship with Kent College which will involve us both in arts activity of the highest calibre. There will be performance opportunities for pupils; back-stage access and creative industry training sessions with Festival staff and artists. We are already collaborating on events for the Great Hall’s opening in 2019, when a new musical will be premiered, as the new venue joins the portfolio of buildings the Festival inhabits throughout the city. This October we are delighted that Kent College will both perform in, and sponsor, the Lunchtime Concert series, and we are excited to be collaborating on a highlight of the Kent College Lecture Series – guest speaker to be announced in the Festival programme in early July.”

The new sponsorship offers a life-line to the Festival, which lost its regular funding from Arts Council and Canterbury City Council earlier this year. But according to Rosie, it’s “Business as Usual” thanks to Kent College – and other business sponsors – stepping up to help bridge the funding gap.

“Three-year sponsorships allow the Festival to work with its partners in much more exciting, and meaningful ways. Planning, developing year on year, grows our ambition and results in individually tailored projects. Encouraging talent and the involvement of younger people in the arts has always been integral to the Festival – and we can’t wait to work with the amazing young singers and actors of Kent College.  A gorgeous new theatre/concert hall is the icing on the cake!”

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