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The Corporation

Posted: 17/11/11

Create gets Royal seal of approval

His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent officially opened ‘Create’ – the college’s new £5m creative arts centre – earlier this week.

On Monday (14 November) HRH toured the state-of-the-art building where he met staff, students and local dignitaries before unveiling a special plaque to mark the occasion.

The Duke also enjoyed music, dance and drama performances by students in the new facilities, which opened their doors to students in September.

He praised students for their efforts, saying: “There is obviously a great deal of creative energy going on here from performing arts students and I am sure you will go on to do great work all over the country.”

Create is the first phase of a £24 million plan to transform the college’s Derby Road campus with new buildings and facilities. 

It provides media, music and performance students with high-tech facilities and equipment including workshop and rehearsal space; television, radio and digital recording studios; multi-media, animation and video editing suites; a commercial software training centre; performing arts and dance studios; and a 150-seat performance theatre.

Principal and chief executive Asha Khemka OBE said: “The visit by His Royal Highness marked an extra special event in the college’s history and the opening of Create marked another chapter in our incredible journey over the last five years.

“To get the Royal seal of approval makes me very proud. I’m hoping that people come from all over the community to use our facilities.”

Students and staff spoke of their pride at meeting HRH.

Music student Heather Vernon, 19, said: “I felt a little bit nervous to play and sing in front of The Duke of Kent but I’m starting to get more used to playing to different audiences now.

“He spoke to me while I was playing the piano and asked me what I want to do next.  I explained that I was keen to go to university and then become a professional songwriter.”

Media student Rob Page, 18, said: “The Duke asked me if I was enjoying my course and what it involved.  He asked me whether I was interested in working in TV or film, so I told him film was my preferred option. He seemed really impressed with our film studio. 

“I felt really proud to be part of today’s royal visit.  I’d never met Royalty before.”

Liam Porter, 19, who is studying performing arts and took the lead role in a performance for The Duke of other dignitaries, said: “It was an honour and a privilege to perform in front of such an esteemed audience.  Being among the first group to ever perform in the new theatre was a really proud moment.

“I felt really nervous before the performance but used the adrenalin to push myself.  This is the highlight of my time at college.”

Dignitaries in attendance had nothing but praise for the new facilities and the students.

Councillor Keith Walker, chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council, described the visit as a “marvellous occasion”.

He added: “The facilities I’ve seen today are great – a real credit to the college.

“It was also good to see student Heather Vernon performing.  I met Heather when she auditioned for the talent competition being staged by The Royal British Legion.  She’s incredibly talented and will go a long way.”

Mansfield Mayor Tony Egginton said: “The facilities are truly state-of-the-art and will fulfil the potential of students across the district and attract people from further afield.

“We have an abundance of creative potential in the area and these facilities will enable people to go from strength to strength.

“I’m sure HRH would have left genuinely impressed by the attitude of students and the actual facilities, which are second-to-none.”