12th September 2019 — On a gloriously sunny afternoon, the doors were opened on the latest addition to the senior school campus at Kent College.
The 600 seat state-of-the-art building will provide a space for reflection and worship as well as cutting-edge facilities for concerts and the performing arts. It has been nearly two years in construction and it was agreed that the considerable anticipation has been worth it as VIP guests, governors, donors and past colleagues took their seats along with the pupils and staff and gazed around the light and elegant auditorium.
Dr David Lamper, Executive Head, Mr Phil Wise, the new Head of Senior School and the Reverend Dr Paul Glass welcomed the largest school community in the 134 years of the College’s history to the memorable occasion and thanked the generous donors who have helped to make the £8.4 million project a reality. The Hall will host a cornucopia of superb concerts and theatrical performances from the school’s 5 choirs, 7 musical ensembles and talented drama department but will also be available for use by the local community. Kent College is a key sponsor for the Canterbury Festival who will be hosting 4 events in the Great Hall during this year’s Festival in October.
The service of dedication was led by Reverend Dr Barabara Glasson, President of the Methodist Conference and the Methodist Chair of District and was attended by the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Canterbury, the Sheriff of Canterbury as well as the Chair of the Methodist Independent Schools’ Trust. Voices soared in the auditorium accompanied by Julian Ross, Director of Music on the new Makin digital organ as the school’s Choristers and Sedecim choir led the singing.
Reverend Dr Barabara Glasson unveiled a plaque commemorating the event and as the students left the building, guests watched as the seating was reconverted within just a few minutes to create a smaller more intimate theatre space for 380.
Celebrations were held afterwards in the Colonnade within the Great Hall overlooking the grounds. The Great Hall will certainly become known as one of Canterbury’s iconic buildings and venues with its distinctive silhouette on the hill above the city, contemporary architecture and award winning sustainable construction.
Dr David Lamper said: “The opening of the Great Hall marks a major milestone for the school and reflects the continuing confidence of the community in Kent College.”
The first major event in the Great Hall will be “And Can it Be?” a new musical work celebrating the life of John Wesley, written by David Lamper and Paul Glass on Thursday 10th and Friday 11th of October.