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Performing arts college in Leeds announces new owner

Performing arts college in Leeds announces new owner

One of Yorkshire’s most prestigious performing arts colleges has been taken over by a West End musical theatre actor and director, marking an ambitious new era for the Leeds establishment.

SLP College in Garforth, Leeds, has announced Kenneth Avery-Clark as its new owner, who is also the principal and co-founder of The International College of Musical Theatre (ICMT) in London.

Until now, SLP had been led by Sandra Reid, who founded the college 32 years ago (1991) and established it as a leading training ground for dance and musical theatre in the UK.

Avery-Clark, originally from Canada, co-founded The ICMT 13 years ago with the idea that traditional drama schools needed to be brought up to date, giving the opportunity for the performers of tomorrow to train with the industry professionals of today.

Kenneth explains his decision to take over ownership of SLP College:

“I was approached by Ms. Reid late last year to see if I would be interested in taking over SLP as she was ready for retirement. I loved the idea of bridging the gap between the North and the South to give students an even better training experience. Ms. Reid brought SLP to where it is today, but now it’s time for someone else to pump in positive change and take the college to even higher levels of quality.”

SLP College is Ofsted rated ‘Outstanding’ and offers government grants to fund training for qualifying students aged 16 and above on their Diploma courses in Dance and Musical Theatre. SLP has a proven track record of producing successful graduates, with many performing in the West End (in The Book of Mormon, Wicked, Heathers and Six, to name a few), on cruise ships and in international tours.

Kenneth continues on his plans for SLP College:

“Straight off the bat, we will offer a new 2-year Accelerated Degree Course in Musical Theatre Performance validated by Coventry University, which will be available next September. This will be the only degree course of its kind available in the North and essentially means students can enter the industry sooner, cutting a whole year of expenses. We expect it to be a significant draw for performing arts students from across the UK, given the current state of the economy, and will make our courses accessible to all, not just to those who can afford them.”

Having originally started as a dance school, SLP College also offers ballet, jazz, tap, modern and commercial dance classes daily for children as young as three and up to 16 years old. More recently, it has launched its very own talent agency for kids, AC Talent, which will represent children from the Junior Academy who excel in dancing, acting and singing.

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