Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Notre Dame School Opens Brand New Theatre

David Plummer, Bishop Kieran, Bridget Williams and Archbishop Longley
Notre Dame School reports:
"December saw a dream become a reality for Notre Dame School in Cobham, Surrey, when Mayor and Mayoress Sheldon joined Sisters, governors, staff and invited guests to the Opening Gala Event of the Montaigne Theatre with the inaugural performance of “Breath on the Embers”. The magnificent theatre, studio and rehearsal rooms were opened and blessed during a ceremony by Archbishop Bernard Longley and Bishop Kieran Conry.

A long time in the planning and construction, the Montaigne Theatre brings to Notre Dame a facility worthy of the West End. The completed building is testament to the vision of this vibrant community, where all from Sisters, pupils and parents to teachers, governors, local neighbours and skilled professionals have had a chance to contribute to the planning and realisation of our performing arts facilities

Thanks to the Elmbridge Council planning committee and in particular the efforts and support of Mayor and Mayoress John and Mary Sheldon and Cllr John O’Reilly.

The opening play “Breath on the Embers”, commissioned to reflect the founding of this community is very much in the spirit of the school itself. It shows the connection between the human and spiritual side of the school’s tradition. It reflects the legacy of our Foundress, St Jeanne de Lestonnac, and her influential uncle, Michel de Montaigne, for worldwide education. Our proud 400 year tradition is the basis for the best education of the whole person we can offer; the new facilities underline our commitment to the well rounded development of the young people in our care.

The performance was live-streamed across the world with sister schools tuning in from as far as Barcelona, Rome, Bordeaux and California.

The Gala event and the building of the Montaigne Theatre has been achieved through the collective efforts and input from many:

“It was very pleasing to work with a client who had the forethought to engage a theatre consultant, and who embraced our innovative concepts and followed them through. The result is this delightful, intimate, world-class theatre combining an open stage and proscenium with the versatility to adapt to a variety of configurations.” Peter Ruthven Hall Partner, Theatreplan

“For me this has been the most complex and unique project that I’ve ever managed; every day was thought-provoking, not just for me, but for all those involved on site and I’m extremely proud of the whole site team for its efforts and enthusiasm in producing something so very special!” Chris Gamble Senior Site Manager, E R Armfield Ltd

Chairman of Governors Mr Glen Travers said “…blending a 400 year history with the latest 21st Century building, lighting and video internet technology is a fitting and stunning tribute to the capabilities of the staff... a true Notre Dame School, Cobham celebration.”

“First Class venue, First Class hosts, First Class performance…” Robert Garofalo, Director of Voice in a Million

“What a wonderful evening! The performance was amazing and it certainly did justice to your marvellous new theatre. Congratulations to everyone involved and to a magnificent staff and cast. I know that this will be the first of many memorable events which you will hold in the Montaigne Theatre - here's to an exciting future and well done to all for having the vision to go with this amazing project” Wanda Nash, Governor

The Montaigne Theatre has been expertly designed for flexibility and adaptability, so that over the years to come innovative ways of working and new skills, alongside state of the art equipment, can be used to showcase the natural talent of our girls and also be of use and benefit to the wider community.

A Theatre for the Community
If you are interested in hiring their fantastic nonagonal Montaigne Theatre, please contact our Theatre Manager Sue Gilhespie on 01932 869990 or email

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