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Mountview CEOs Collect Olivier Award As Mountview Celebrates 75 Years

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The Olivier Awards today celebrated Stephen Jameson and Sarah Preece's achievements in relocating the Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts from Wood Green in north London to Peckham in south-east London and for promoting accessibility and diversity.

The Special Recognition Olivier Awards recognised Mountview's commitment to the arts and arts education in Peckham itself as well as its work in training future generations of students in performance and production arts, including numerous award-winning actors, technicians and artistic directors of leading organisations.

In accepting their awards, Sarah and Stephen acknowledged the industry leaders who have championed Mountview's relocation, including Sir Cameron Mackintosh who made a gift of £1 million to Mountview, ensuring the completion of its new home. Mountview is naming their main theatre in his honour. Other supporters included Lady Susie Sainsbury's Backstage Trust (naming the Backstage Theatre at Mountview).

The awards were presented by Mountview alumnus and Olivier Award winning actor Giles Terera. In the audience was Lucy Anderson who graduated from Mountview in 2019 and has been nominated for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical for Dear Evan Hansen.

Since their appointment as joint CEOs in 2014 Sarah and Stephen have pioneered a new model of drama school that brings together performance, creative and vocational training, and community engagement. Initiatives to ensure that everyone has access to drama training, irrespective to social background is at the core of Mountview's mission. Since moving Mountview to Peckham, Mountview has been working in schools across Southwark and has initiated weekend and evening classes for young people, with means-tested bursaries for reduced price or free tuition.

Mountview has also partnered with 43 organisations across the UK to ensure that people from under-represented communities outside of the capital are made aware of the possibilities of a career in the performing arts. This UK-wide scouting network helps Mountview identify talented young actors, musical theatre performers, stage managers, lighting, sound and scenic artists and provides them with free auditions and bursaries.

Currently 58% of Mountview's undergraduate acting students identify as being black, Asian or minority ethnic. 100% of their Musical Theatre graduates and over 90% of acting graduates leave with management representation and three quarters of all musicals in the West End employ Mountview alumni.

To secure Mountview's future Sarah and Stephen led on a capital project to build a new home for not just Mountview's vocational training, but also the wider professional creative industries and community alike.

Sarah and Stephen's vision was to create a building that was more than just teaching spaces. This came from both a business plan to create a mixed financial economy that blends ticket sales and tuition fees with commercial income, and a philosophical belief that the best way to teach the next generation of theatre makers is by surrounding them with the best current practitioners.

Completed in just 17 months, and delivered on time and on budget, Mountview's new home has two public theatres showing over 20 shows each year by Mountview's graduating students as well as work by visiting professional and community companies. Alongside 23 acting, dance, TV and radio studios and production arts workshops there is dedicated rehearsal space for professional companies which have included Akram Khan Dance Company, Sheffield Theatres, Sonia Friedman Productions and Shakespeare's Globe.

Sarah and Stephen commented:

"It is an honour to receive this award. Together we are passionate about ensuring Mountview's mission for excellence, access and innovation in drama training for all. Along with our colleagues we are committed to providing the best possible training. We have put well-being at the heart of the curriculum, and we have reimagined the audition and training process with both our students and industry colleagues in mind. To ensure Mountview's future we have made a home that is open to all with leading professionals working alongside community groups and our students."

Vikki Heywood CBE, Mountview's Chairman, added:

"This is a valediction of the work Sarah and Stephen have achieved over the past six years. The creative industries are the second largest contributor to the UK economy and for the future of our industry it is vital that we ensure that everyone, irrespective of their background, has access to the best possible training. Through its outreach programmes, scouting networks and vocational training Mountview is doing just that."

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