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New Arts Centre name revealed

New Arts Centre name revealed
Arts Centre Build Music

Following a two-year construction project, the new £11 million Arts Centre based at the heart of the Sherborne Girls campus is set to be named ‘The Merritt Centre’ in honour of a former member of staff.

Dr Ruth Sullivan, Headmistress, stated:

“We are delighted to announce that the name of our wonderful new facility will be ‘The Merritt Centre’. This is in memory of Gwendoline Merritt, a former member of staff affectionately known as ‘Queenie’, who left her entire estate to the school when she passed away in 2014.

“Queenie was a much-loved member of the housekeeping team and a tea lady in Kenelm (one of our boarding houses) for many years. The stunning new Merritt Centre facilities will be used by pupils and staff alike for performances, assemblies, meetings, rehearsals and recordings as well as for areas for studying and socialising and we are honoured to acknowledge Queenie’s kindness, tireless service and generosity in this memorable way.”

The magnificent new facility boasts a concert hall that seats an audience of 305 or 500 theatre-style; practice rooms; a recording studio and multi-use social spaces which have spectacular views across the playing fields. The centre can also be booked by local schools and community organisations and will therefore strengthen the school’s drive to support and fully engage with the wider Sherborne community.

The specialist acoustic design of the concert hall came into its own when former pupil and eminent violinist, Ruth Rogers, gave a stunning concert on Monday 29 April. The performance was the first public concert held in the new venue and the audience were visibly impressed with the astounding acoustics and setting. This concert helped to support the final leg of the school’s £2.5 million fundraising campaign that has seen almost £2.4 million raised so far from over 700 donors.

A celebratory occasion to mark The Merritt Centre’s formal opening is planned for late June. In the meantime, it is being used on a daily basis by both the school and local community and has already hosted the National Children’s Orchestra, Sherborne Abbey Music Festival and TEDxSherborne.

To see photos from the Ruth Rogers concert, please click through:

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New Arts Centre name revealed