The World is a Stage – especially at Downlands as we open our new amphitheatre HOPS!

It has been a long journey! It started with a Year 11 trip to watch ‘Romeo & Juliet’ at the Brighton Open Air Theatre a few years ago. Headteacher, Mr Wignall returned to school inspired to create something similar here at Downlands. The vision to create a performance and social space for the students at Downlands was born. We were delighted to officially open HOPS this week!

Many thanks to everyone who has made our vision a reality. We would especially like to thank everyone who has sponsored a seat or a sleeper in the amphitheatre and the people who contributed to our crowd fundraising campaign. Other large donations came from the following organisations:

· The Garfield Weston Foundation

· The Hassocks Parish Council

· The Downlands School Association

· The Southover Manor Trust.

and West Sussex County Council.

We are especially grateful to landscape architect Nick Dexter who turned our vision into a brilliant design, Nigel Bowcock, Ross Jackson and the team at Acre Landscapes who took Nick’s design and turned it into our wonderful amphitheatre, HOPS.

The amphitheatre was officially opened by our Chair of Governors Mrs Di Hunt. We were delighted to welcome Brain Fruit straight from the Brighton Fringe who performed “Bear North” as well Miss Rebecca Milford, mezzo soprano who performed among others “I Feel Pretty” and “Summertime” – perfect. We were especially pleased to welcome back Lana Mae Garrett, who has just left Downlands and who read two of her beautiful poems. Our fantastic students performed too – with the Downlands Strings Group playing for guests as they arrived and the Downlands Choir singing to round off a perfect afternoon with the stunning South Downs as a backdrop.

If you would like to sponsor a seat (£15), a sleeper (£30) or a VIP sleeper in the front row (£50) please contact us at school. Likewise if you are interested in renting the space, please contact Sue Jones, Business Manager.

Thank you to local photographer, Paul Noble, who donated his services for the afternoon – the stunning photographs are his.