BY JAMES TWOMEY
A music, theatre and arts charity has launched a programme to reach more than 6,000 people and introduce them to the world of arts.
The Blackheath Conservatoire has received a £40,000 donation from the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation and has promised to engage thousands of people in the arts, regardless of personal challenge, social circumstances or previous experience, with their work to be featured at the Tate Modern on March 19 and 20.
John Keeley, principal and managing director of Blackheath Conservatoire, said: “Our central ethos at the Conservatoire is that the arts can not only enrich lives, but potentially transform them, too.
“Now, more than ever, the arts can be drivers of social mobility, community cohesion and emancipation, and we seek to be wherever art, music and drama can make a difference.
The funding from the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation marks a significant moment in the Conservatoire’s 137-year history, and we hope this is just the beginning. We are so grateful for the Foundation’s support, which is enabling this work to change lives.”
The arts school has seen talents such as Kate Bush, Gary Oldman, Jools Holland and Daniel Day-Lewis come through its ranks and has partnered with Tate Exchange and Thomas Tallis School to work with 120 children, including deaf and autistic children from Greenwich.
The work created by the students will explore the kind of journeys artists make, through themes of navigation, movement and journey using works by Tania Bruguera and Christian Marclay to help them.
Elderly residents are also participating in two projects with Blackheath Conservatoire, in partnership with Age Exchange Blackheath.
A one-year intergenerational arts programme at Hazelhead Care Home and ABC Nursery in Beckenham will see residents and children come together to create work for a special exhibition to be announced later this summer.
Sarah Miller, charity executive of the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, said: “We are thrilled to see the outcome of our grant supporting Blackheath Conservatoire’s outreach projects, particularly to those with special educational needs, refugee status and challenging circumstances.
“Supporting both young and old, regardless of background or ability, Blackheath Conservatoire is a brilliant example of what can be achieved by engaged arts organisations. From educational, emotional and social development to community cohesion, these projects have impact beyond our two years of funding. We encourage other funders to join us in supporting these life changing initiatives.”
The final project, which will commence in May 2019, will see Blackheath Conservatoire work with Grace, Greenwich Refugee Aid and Community Enterprise.