On Thursday 16th May, there was great excitement at James Allen’s Girls’ School when former pupil turned actress & musician, Charlotte Ritchie, visited her old school to sign the first brick for a Wall of Fame to demonstrate her support for the Community Music Centre@jags which the school will be opening in 2016.
Charlotte spent a lot of time chatting with former pupils, giving them advice on how to move into the world of entertainment. She asked to see around the school and was excited when the Headmistress Marion Gibbs suggested that she visit the staffroom. She admitted to avoiding the eyes of some of the teachers!
23 year old Charlotte has risen to fame since her time as one of the four performers in the crossover classical group ‘All Angels’, and more recently as a star of Channel 4’s thrice Academy nominated ‘Fresh Meat’. She joins a list of celebrities backing the Community Music Centre project including Joanna Lumley, Sally Hawkins, Nicky Campbell & Tina Ritchie, Jenny Éclair, & Angela Gheorghiu.
JAGS in Dulwich is known for its social conscience and for giving back to the local community. The Community Music Centre@jags (affectionately known as the CMC@jags) will transform music for South East London.
The music space will be open to the whole community outside of school hours, and will comprise of a 400 seat concert hall, a 100 seat recital hall, 26 practice rooms, 3 music technology rooms, a listening room and music therapy room. The centre will be home to community choirs, orchestras, & musical groups of all styles. It will provide the highest standards of accessibility so those of all physical & mental abilities can access the centre. Local elderly people, who may be isolated in the community, will also be helped to come to the centre to hear live music being performed.
Charlotte says she feels honoured to support the centre:
“As a former JAGS pupil I’m 100% behind the Community Music Centre@jags. It’s going to offer students an incredible facility to rehearse & perform in, but also give as many people as possible outside of the school access to the kind of facilities that should be open to all.”
Charlotte has very positive memories of her involvement with music whilst at school:
“I was at JAGS from 2000-2007. We were the millennium year so our class was called 7M. My main memories of JAGS music was being a member of the gospel choir- a choir formed by the girls at school. They asked me to lead it in my final year but I wasn’t great as I was doing All Angels at the time. But the girls were so brilliant and I genuinely loved it as we just sang whatever we liked. I also distinctly remember making up a song in year 8 music and one of our friends made us write it about a boy she ‘loved’ at the time. It was so emotional and so so funny looking back. But we loved that we could use all the instruments and recording facilities to create whatever we wanted”.
Abbie from Y13 said: “It was so exciting to meet Charlotte, particularly because she’s so funny. I’ve seen a trailer for her new film and I can’t wait. She gave us good advice about getting into professional theatre, television and film. I can’t believe how young she was when she was singing with All Angels. Then finishing uni and trying to write her dissertation at the same time as filming ‘Fresh Meat’ with C4! That’s so impressive. She’s really lovely and down to earth.”
For news on how you can support the Community Music centre campaign, contact David Wing, Development Director T: 020 8613 6496/E: firstname.lastname@example.org.