PAD: Grimshaw Foundation x Royal Albert Hall

Introducing our new programme with The Royal Albert Hall – ‘Performance. Architecture. Design.’ (PAD)

The Royal Albert Hall → and Grimshaw Foundation → have created a new education programme ‘Performance. Architecture. Design.’ (PAD) that brings together the Hall’s four Associate Artists and over 160 secondary school students from across London. Launched at the end of 2023, the programme is an immersive, hands-on creative experience, designed to introduce young people to the interdisciplinary creative industries of dance, music, performance, architecture and design.

Working with eight schools across London, the programme comprises a series of creative workshops, integrated into the school curriculum in the spring and summer term of 2024. The workshops, with Key Stage 3 students (12-14 year olds), will be led by the Associate Artists and Foundation volunteers and culminate in a Big Build day in summer 2024. Each ‘build’, created from the designs developed by the eight schools, will be installed by the schools at the Royal Albert Hall, bringing the programme — the understanding of performance, architecture and design — to life.

The four Associate Artists include the poet and spoken word artist LionHeart, saxophonist Jess Gillam MBE, organist, conductor and broadcaster Anna Lapwood MBE, and classical and contemporary choreographer Corey Baker. Inspired by the creative impetus of each artist, PAD will enable young people to explore how spaces can support, elevate and shape performance. The launch, held at the Royal Albert Hall, began this engagement with a series of workshops, led by each of the artists and Urban Learners (who partner with Grimshaw Foundation on the development of education programmes), exploring the Hall as a space and the elements and professions — from acoustics and lighting, to set design and sound — that create memorable experiences.

I wanted to bring all of the Associate Artists together for the first time to work on a new creative project with my Grimshaw Family at the Royal Albert Hall. I’m hoping to explore how 'Performance Architecture and Design' can inspire a new generation of creativity.
We’re incredibly excited to bring the wonder of the Royal Albert Hall to so many young people as part of this programme. By going behind the scenes at the Hall, we’re hoping to inspire our students to choose creative GCSEs and to show how this can link to a huge range of careers — from lighting and sound design, to design, film and communications. Our aim is for this programme to open up the students to the wider variety of creative careers and experiences they can consider for their own futures.
Kirsten Lees, trustee of the Grimshaw Foundation
We're delighted to be working with the Grimshaw Foundation on this programme, which reflects the Hall's founding purposes of promoting both arts and sciences — combining performance and architecture in a multidisciplinary way. The PAD project will see students come together to create, design and build performance spaces inspired by the work of our four Associate Artists, supported by the Grimshaw Foundation team of architects, designers and volunteers. We can't wait to see the results.
Paul Munday, Education and Outreach Executive of the Royal Albert Hall

The PAD programme is the third education programme that the Grimshaw Foundation has developed, which is intended to support its central purpose — to elevate creativity as an essential skill for the future. The foundation works directly with schools that support young people from non-traditional and underrepresented backgrounds, alongside providing its education programmes, outreach directly with artists and architects, careers days, lectures and artists talks, big build days and workshops.

The Associate Artists are working with the Royal Albert Hall to increase young people’s engagement with more traditional artforms, and to encourage innovation and diversity. Since 2022, the four artists have developed ambitious projects encompassing the worlds of classical music, dance and spoken word. This includes headlining shows, presenting exclusive commissions, running initiatives for young audiences and much more. The Associate Artists programme is supported by the Thompson Family Charitable Trust.

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