Theatre school moves to new home

KNAPHILL is the new home of the established Leanne Edwards School of Theatre Arts.

The school, regularly abbreviated to Lesta, has moved into studios on the Lansbury Estate after 13 years in Bisley Village Hall.

SIGNING IN – Leanne Edwards in her new Knaphill studio. Picture: Nicole Connell

The two studios, aptly named West End and Broadway, are complete with new dance flooring, barres and mirrors, and ready for the return of students when lockdown ends.

Over the past decade, Lesta students have not only attended weekly classes but taken part in national competitions and festivals, and performed in an annual musical production at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre.

Past productions have included Madagascar, Honk!, Seussical and The Jungle Book.

The school prides itself on offering a warm, family atmosphere which nurtures and inspires students. Lesta says that it has had many members who joined at the age of two and haven’t left until they graduated at 16!

Despite the pandemic, Leanne, the owner and principal, has kept busy getting the new studio ready for when classes resume and moving all her current classes online.

She also organised West End workshops for her students and held regular online bingo and quiz evenings, and even an online scavenger hunt for younger pupils.

Leanne said: “I was devastated when the Government announced that dance classes had to stop but quickly realised they could be moved online with little disruption, which meant I could still work, and my dedicated students could still attend their classes.

“It has certainly been hugely different and doesn’t compare to being in the studio with them all, but it was the only solution.

“The bonus was that I was able to oversee the refurbishment of the newly acquired studios and got to work decorating them and making them look exactly as I had always envisioned.

“I am so excited that students can come back after Easter and have been preparing for their return.

“With the end finally in sight, we are slowly making plans to get our cancelled show back up and running as soon as we can and hopefully festivals will follow.”

Lesta offers various classes from ballet, jazz, tap, modern, acro and musical theatre – something for everyone.

Leanne is offering a free seven-day class pass for all booked trials prior to 19 April. Trials can be booked for the summer term but after 19 April there will be a paid three-trial class pass.

She will also hire the studios to those requiring space for, perhaps, rehearsal or a fitness class, and would be happy to discuss the times available and prices.

FOR information on term dates, prices and classes, visit www.lesta.org.uk.

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