10 years of the Ruddock Performing Arts Centre
05 April 2022
The transformational impact of the Sir Paul and Lady Ruddock Performing Arts Centre on arts provision at King Edward's School was commemorated at the venue's 10th Anniversary Celebration on Thursday, 17 February 2022.
The £11m facility, which opened in the spring of 2012, was partially funded by a substantial donation from Old Edwardian Sir Paul Ruddock (1976) who, together with Lady Ruddock, attended the celebration in February.
Sir Paul said: "King Edward's developed my appreciation for the arts, igniting a lifelong passion. It has been exciting to see the way in which the Performing Arts Centre has thrived over the last 10 years and I hope that many more pupils have discovered a passion for the arts in the same way that I did."
Home to a 400-seater auditorium, 120-seater drama studio, state-of-the-art dance and rehearsal rooms, and music facilities, the Ruddock Performing Arts Centre is a joint facility for both KES and King Edward VI High School for Girls (KEHS). Both schools were represented at the celebration, which featured a selection of recitals from music, drama and dance.
Among the performers were Old Edwardians Sam Newton (2010), who spoke about his journey, finishing with a short extract from The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, the play that began his acting career, and Sam Wilson (2015), who performed Wilkommen from Cabaret, accompanied by current Sixth Christopher Churcher. Pupils from both schools came together for a performance of Summertime from Porgy and Bess, Johannes Brahms' String Quintet No. 2 in G major, op. 111, and a scene from the recent Senior Production, Pride and Prejudice.
Dr Katy Ricks, Chief Master, and Kirsty von Malaisé, Principal of KEHS, gave a joint address, and in a shared message in the commemorative programme, they said: "Music, drama and the arts teach us to listen, to respond, and to create, all endeavours which should be at the heart of school life, just as the two schools converge in the Performing Arts Centre."
In addition to show-stopping performances from KES and KEHS pupils, and the associated Stage Crew activities, the Ruddock Performing Arts Centre has also hosted many visiting speakers, outreach initiatives, award ceremonies and celebrations, and around 100 professional and community arts organisations from Birmingham and beyond have used the venue.