Arts centre opens new-look dance school for Shropshire

A new-look for one of Shropshire’s most famous dance schools will be officially unveiled this weekend after drama and singing teachers turned painters and decorators for Christmas.

Work has been underway over Christmas to get the dance school ready for the new term
Work has been underway over Christmas to get the dance school ready for the new term

The Arts Centre Telford (TACT) took over the Gaston Payne School of Dance and Theatre just before Christmas and pledged to give the neglected facilities a much-needed makeover.

They have been hard at work throughout the seasonal holidays to get it ready for the new term with an open day planned for this Saturday.

Now known as The Arts Centre Telford – Gaston Payne Campus in Stafford Park the building boasts a new modern setting complete with state-of-the-art technology and equipment.

Ross Doodson, co-founder at TACT, said today he was extremely proud of his team who had all pulled together over the holidays to get the school ready.

“It is very exciting for us now we are ready to show off this new addition to the expert tuition and facilities we already provide in the area,” he added.

“Gaston Payne has been a name in the county for 45 years and we were determined it should not be lost. The building had become run-down and neglected but our team got to work together with parents and friends of TACT and it looks fantastic and feels ready to burst into life again.”

He said it was all part of a long-term commitment to providing high standards of teaching and encouraging excellence in the arts across the board.

The new term will also see the introduction of a rigorous timetable and schedule for RAD and ISTD syllabus dance training.

A new team of professional staff has also be appointed to lead the revamped centre.

The Arts Centre Telford, established in 2011 by Ross together with Bobby Standley and Ruth Standley, is based in Ketley and operates five busy studios every week night and all weekend.

It recently celebrated a 100 per cent pass rate in exams set by the London College of Music with 96 per cent gaining a merit or distinction.

Following her retirement from Principalship, Mandy will join the TACT teaching staff as a teacher of ballet. Mandy will also offer one-to-one private tuition and will choreograph festival competition entries.

Parents and prospective pupils have been invited to come along on Saturday when the school will be open to visitors from 9am until 2pm. There will be performances from pupils, the chance to see the refurbished school, meet the staff and discuss the educational programme with the Leadership Team.