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The World is a Stage! New Theatre and Film School Opens in Greenwich

Anna Fiorentini School reaches out to the community

By Kristian Brunt-Seymour

Professional, passionate and dedicated are all closely associated with the work of Greenwich's new theatre and film establishment, the Anna Fiorentini School.

The school is closely associated with London having first been established in Hackney by London resident Anna Fiorentini, who the establishment is named after.

Following two successful taster days in mid-January with a timetable of singing, dancing, film and drama, the school invites young aspiring performers to their new base at James Wolfe Primary School on Randall Place.

The first Anna Fiorentini school opened at a north London community centre in 2001 with the initial concept of being Saturday classes to help fund Anna's progression through drama school. However, the club soon became a passion of Anna's who quickly sought to develop the drama school as a Prince’s Trust Business.

Since then, the group has won multiple Business of London Awards and developed a growing reputation within the performing arts industry with one of their most recent alumni being Jermain Jackman, winner of last year's The Voice.

"Soon after I started the school it became my baby and I feel in love with it" explains Anna, "The aim of the school was to be independent of other organisations and build on the policy of getting to know the students, building their confidence and offering opportunities for new students with bursaries and scholarships.

"We're made up of a group of professional teachers and directors, many of whom have worked in the West End, and want to give something back to the community."

This principle of giving something back is another reason why Anna chose Greenwich having regularly performed at the Greenwich Playhouse, an establishment Anna fondly remembers. In addition, the students provide entertainment for hospitals, care homes and hospices in the local community and as well as business and fundraising skills through the school’s Young Ambassadors scheme."

All of this follows the school's primary aim of providing a safe, supportive environment for young people to explore the performing arts, whether they have dreams of entering the profession or simply wish to use the performing arts classes to learn some valuable life enhancing skills in a fun way.

"Community and creating a family atmosphere is what makes us special", Anna explains, "So many children lack initial confidence or might have excess energy that needs to be channelled. They need to feel safe and know they are not going to be made fun of even if they mistakes.

"Performing art helps children increase in confidence, self-esteem, a thirst for learning, communication skills, presentation skills and life skills, making them better equipped members of their community, explains Anna, "People tell me how much we're helping their children a purpose and help them with their life chances and life skills. We have a good working relationship with both the parents and students and emphasis the essential skills that they need to succeed in the industry such as punctuality."

As for the future, Anna aims to build on the school's master classes programme which has previously had Barbara Windsor, Christopher Biggins, Shobna Gulati and Michelle Collins and Jospeh Marcell. She also has plans to build working relationships and partnerships with local schools and businesses and provide workshops to week-day schools to support their curriculum.

"Greenwich is such as wonderful community with everything so close - you have the market, park and cafeterias".

"In time, we hope that the school can be part of that intricate and special community"

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