From school and touring productions to debates, art shows and lectures, it is a place where the creative spirit is encouraged to flourish. The new centre includes a fully equipped 200-240 seat theatre, two drama/rehearsal rooms, three art studios, a large foyer with licenced bar, two dressing rooms with toilet and shower facilities and a large green room.The theatre makes possible the teaching of Drama in a custom-built space and the performance of school productions in an intimate venue.So unique is it in Armidale, that it is ‘home’ to several community creative organisations, as well as a place where visiting companies like the Sydney Theatre Company have stage professional productions for regional Australia to enjoy.
The dream of building a special home for the Creative and Performing Arts at TAS has been one for more than half a century, but the most recent chapter began back in 2002 when the Headmaster Mr Murray Guest announced that the School Council had resolved “to embark on a plan to provide TAS with an Arts and Drama complex incorporating a 200 seat theatre.”
Initial Plans by PTW Architects:
The Headmaster added, “We have a potential donor who has indicated he will match all monies raised on a dollar-for-dollar basis; this is an outstanding act of generosity.” After a tender process, the contract for the design of the building was won by Sydney firm Peddle Thorp & Walker (PTW Architects) in association with Magoffin and Deakin (Armidale). The design included a paved area for outdoor performances. The building came one step closer to reality on 24 May 2006 when the foundation stone was laid by major benefactor and Old Boy, Mike Hoskins.
Without Mr Hoskins the dream of providing a new home for drama, art and public speaking would simply not have been possible. At the Foundation Stone ceremony, Mr Hoskins spoke of how his commitment to this project came about:
“On leaving TAS and returning to the States back in 1972 I moved into the growing information technology industry. I set up a company which was bought out by Pervasive in 2003 leaving me in a position of financial strength. I began to explore some avenues of how I could help others. Strong public speaking skills have made the difference many times in my career. I have watched people who are good in all sorts of disciplines but they have not been able to seize an idea and translate it into words in a powerful way. I have been able to do that, and over and over again I found it to be the difference maker. I first realised the power of public speaking when I captained the TAS debating team to success my final year at school. The confidence and the ability to speak publicly are skills that I would like TAS boys to have and that is why I have made the commitment to the Creative Arts Centre at TAS.”
The school community is indebted to Mike Hoskins and his family for ensuring such a long held dream, became a reality.