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Pianist Jools Holland officially opened the £13.7million Backstage Centre in Purfleet
STUDENTS were treated to a performance by piano virtuoso Jools Holland as he visited south Essex to open a new £13.7million centre.
The former Squeeze man who now hosts his own BBC Two show featuring some of the biggest names in music performed a short piano piece after opening the Backstage Centre at the High House Production Park.
The cube-shaped building, which has taken five years to build and is next door to the Royal Opera House workshop in Purfleet will be a centre of training for young people.
It includes a rehearsal space, likely to attract some of the music and theatre world’s biggest stars.
Youngsters from across south Essex and the country will have the opportunity to learn the tricks of the trade with the best in the business.
After opening the centre, Jools told the Echo: “I know south Essex well and love it. It’s a brilliant and romantic part of the world. Of course Dracula is from here in Purfleet which I particularly like. I always tell people that as i’m driving over the bridge.
“This centre couldn’t be in a better place. It’s close to the M25, easy for London, Kent and lots of places. It’s important that, at last, something has been built with the purpose of training people properly to engage in the world of live music.”
Asked if he would use the centre himself for rehearsals with his Big Band, Jools said: “It would be perfect for it.”