On Thursday, 7 June 2018, comedian Jo Brand led festivities at the topping out ceremony for Central’s new North Block Development. The topping out served as an opportunity to recognise the achievements of the Design Team and the Contractors and provided a moment to celebrate as the building project nears its completion.
The North Block building, which received planning permission from Camden Council in March of 2015, will extend the School’s teaching, rehearsal and performance spaces, and will include the addition of studios with a focus on training for film/ media and a new public courtyard theatre. The development will improve the campus’s provisions, providing access to cutting-edge arts facilities for both students and the local community and further cementing the School’s reputation as a North London cultural hub.
Long established as one of the UK’s best female comics Jo Brand is the star and writer of Getting On, the BBC’s BAFTA award winning series set on a hospital’s geriatric ward, which was partly inspired by her earlier career in nursing. Jo’s other television credits also includes Jo Brand’s Hot Potatoes (BBC1) and the award-winning Through the Cakehole(Channel 4).
Jo is multi-talented to say the least - from taking the part of The Sergeant of Police in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance at London’s Gielgud Theatre, facing the formidable Alan Sugar for Comic Relief Does the Apprentice and learning to play the organ for a sell-out audience at The Royal Albert Hall. Jo has also written several highly acclaimed best-selling books including Can’t Stand Up For Sitting Down, Look Back In Hunger and The More You Ignore Me. She was made an Honorary Fellow of The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in 2008.
Of the ceremony, Jo Brand said:
“I’m very much looking forward to being a part of the Topping Out ceremony, something I’ve never done before and it’s exciting to be celebrating a new block with so many brilliant facilities… and in keeping with the position of Central at the top of the League Table for drama schools in the UK. I think they said Topping Out… let’s hope it’s not toppling out!"
Of the Ceremony, Central’s Principal, Professor Gavin Henderson said:
“This new development will keep Central at the forefront in facilities for training and research in the Dramatic Arts in Europe. We are not increasing student numbers; this will be a further enhancement of what is already acknowledged to be a world class Conservatoire.”
Rob Joyce, the London Office Director of the project’s official contractors GRAHAM Construction, said:
“With its state-of-the-art facilities, the North Block Building will reinforce The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama’s reputation as one of the world’s leading drama institutions. We’re proud to be working alongside such a talented project team, and by drawing on our educational experience we will ensure that this important building is delivered to the highest quality for students, staff and the local community.”
Architect Tim Ronalds, whose firm is responsible for design of the new building, said:
“The site for the new building previously housed a single storey studio. It now has five double-height studios, wrapped with nine floors of smaller teaching and support spaces. The exterior of the building is in white stucco, its scale and detail in keeping with the neighbouring conservation area. It is a tremendous project which will benefit Central enormously."
I’m very much looking forward to being a part of the Topping Out ceremony, something I’ve never done before and it’s exciting to be celebrating a new block with so many brilliant facilities… and in keeping with the position of Central at the top of the League Table for drama schools in the UK.