A blonde woman, Cate from Richmond performing arts school WestWay,, wearing a black t-shirt sitting playing a keyboard. Her blonde hair is tied up and she is turned to the camera smiling.

West End stars lead Zoom workshops with Richmond performing arts school

By Kwame Boakye
July 20 2020, 19.20

West End stars are running workshops with a performing arts school in Richmond during lockdown.

WestWay School of Performing Arts offer online workshops in singing, acting and dancing for children using Zoom.

The school is working with a whole host of stars from the West End to deliver these workshops, including Aladdin star Matthew Croke and Hamilton actress Kelly Downing.

WestWay owner Cate Blackmore said: “We’re supporting actors who are currently out of work, we’re also supporting children by providing West End workshops with their idols.”

Three women in black clothing with long blonde hair sitting next to each other and smiling at the camera. They are the owners of Richmond performing arts school WestWay.
DREAM TEAM: WestWay owners Ellie Barrett, Cate Blackmore and Alex Alderson

She added: “We’ve opened up these classes for everyone and anyone because we want as many people as possible to have access to them.”

The classes start from £2.50 an hour and both group and private sessions are available.

Online classes have become synonymous with lockdown and WestWay are no different, they started with singing lessons and theatre classes, then quickly progressed to West End workshops featuring the stars of shows such as Hamilton, Wicked and Six.

The classes have not only provided aspiring stars with the opportunity to continue to hone their skills, they’ve also given performers the platform to continue to work.

Cate said: “We want to do as much as possible to keep our actors going with a salary and also provide great education and experiences.”

The government announced theatres can re-open from August 1. This news, coupled with the recent announcement of the arts rescue package of £1.57 billion, has given the industry a much-needed boost.

Rows and rows of empty red chairs in a theatre,
LIGHTS, CAMERA…: WestWay hopes to re-open in September

The hiatus on live performances has endured for five months and Cate is hopeful there is a new-found appreciation of the arts as a result.

“So many people are missing concerts and music, the arts are so integral to who we are as human beings,” she said.

“This isn’t just having fun on stage, this is ingrained in us as humans and I hope it really increases people’s appreciation for the arts going forward.”

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