Plympton Academy announces name of its new performing arts building: The Morpurgo Studios

The brand new performing arts building at Plympton Academy will be officially opened by Sir Michael Morpurgo in August.

The building will be known as The Morpurgo Studios and includes music classrooms, practice rooms, a recording studio, drama studio and a theatre space.

Not only is Sir Michael opening the new building but Joey, the main puppet and star of War Horse, will also be attending the event. Michael’s visit coincides with the opening night of War Horse at the Theatre Royal in Plymouth.

“It is quite a daunting task to ‘name’ a building and it took careful thought and discussion,” said Jo Crook, Director of Performing Arts at Plympton Academy. “We didn’t want to name the building solely after a choreographer, musician or actor because of the multi-functional uses of the space. We also felt strongly that this building belongs to all students at the academy and therefore needed a more universal identity but one that also connected with the importance of the arts within education.

“Sir Michael Morpurgo is not only a hugely successful children’s writer but also a strong and outspoken advocate of the importance of the arts in schools. He often writes his stories about children or animals overcoming adversity and we felt the themes in his writing often communicate courage, strength and belief in the self; all qualities that we celebrate within the performing arts. Michael is also a Devon resident and we felt this was relatable to the students and demonstrated that hard work and resilience can lead to great success no matter where you are from.”

The funds for the project came from a Capital Improvement Bid that was submitted to the Education Funding Agency. The £2 million pounds paid for the Performing Arts building, and a further successful bid enabled the resurfacing of the existing PE hardstanding area, and provided new fencing and lighting.

Plympton Academy worked in partnership with TFQ Architects, the designers and project managers, and contractors South West Highways Build, on the building projects that have enhanced facilities across the school.

“Here at Plympton Academy we want to offer our students a combination of traditional academic subjects, such as history and geography, but also subjects that sit outside this category, such as performing arts and sport,” said Principal, Lisa Boorman.

“By ensuring our students study a wide range of subjects, we promote a healthy approach to learning. Performing arts and sport are vital in enabling the development of confidence, resilience and team work - all key characteristics needed in life skill development. The arts are also one of the fastest growing industries in the UK and students become more aware of the performing arts.”