Old Girl and actress Olivia Poulet (Class of 1996) came back to Putney High School last night to officially“raise the curtain” on the new Performing Arts Centre.
Best known for her TV roles in The Thick of It and Sherlock, Olivia Poulet has also appeared at the National Theatre, and recently in the critically acclaimed Product at the Arcola Theatre. Her acting career began in Putney High School’s drama classes, and she immediately stood out amongst her peers for her skills as a performer. In her role playing Lord Throxton in Pickpockets, Pearls and the Peacock in 1991, the school magazine’s review stated“Olivia Poulet and the spies deserve a special mention because it isn’t easy being the baddies… Olivia managed to be sinister and cold even with her sweet scatter-brained wife and her dim but endearing son.”
In her speech, Olivia made reference to the excellent teaching she had received during her time at the school, and paid tribute to her teachers who were in the audience. The launch included a Year 9 performance of an extract from Shakespeare’sAs You Like It, two instrumental solos from Tasmin Sarkany (Year 12) and Caitlin Whitnall (Year 6), and scenes from the musicalWe Will Rock You, which is going to be staged at the school in December.
Students and staff moved into the new Performing Arts Centre in September. This exciting new facility includes an acoustically-sensitive and spacious performance theatre, stage area and raked seating, as well as state-of-the-art sound and lighting, a green room for budding performers and a concert Steinway piano to accompany the plays and concerts.
Putney High School girls were involved from the earliest stages of designing their building; helping to make decisions on areas such as decoration and colour schemes, as well as choosing furniture for the gallery and audience reception area.
Headmistress Suzie Longstaff said“We are incredibly proud of this magnificent Centre, which will give all our girls the chance to have a professional theatre experience, both on stage as performers, and backstage as sound and lighting technicians and stage managers. The performances have been fantastic, and I am very much looking forward to our Senior School Concert next week and the musicalWe Will Rock Youin December.
“We are very grateful for the support of the Putney High School community: none of this would have been possible without the generosity of parents, alumnae, staff and the Friends of Putney High School (FOPHS).”
See images of the event here: https://www.putneyhigh.gdst.net/media