CAPA College prepares to embrace life after lockdown


Wakefield’s prestigious Creative and Performing Arts College welcomes students back through its doors and announces exciting plans to broaden the city’s artistic provision


Like schools, colleges and universities up and down the country, CAPA College closed its doors on Friday 20th March. In the uncertainty of coronavirus its students faced a summer term with no final examinations, end of year show or straightforward progression to higher education and professional employment. But the remarkably resilient College, which is no stranger to fighting for its students’ futures, responded to the challenges of Covid 19 with zeal.


In a matter of days CAPA College, which has already positively embraced the use of technology in its teaching and learning, launched its new virtual campus. Laptops were issued on long-term loans and since then students have been taking part in a full remote learning timetable with live-streamed classes, active-participation dance, drama and singing workshops, collaborative digital projects, virtual tutorials and guest masterclasses with celebrated performers and creatives from the world of film and television. The response has been phenomenal with an average 96% daily attendance this term.


This week CAPA College’s second year students are marking their final week at the Wakefield institution. While things are certainly unorthodox – final celebrations will take place exclusively online via conference calling – the College have worked tirelessly to ensure that its students still have bright futures ahead. Graduates this year have already gained offers to study at the UK’s top universities and arts conservatoires, including ArtsEd, Mountview, the Guildford School of Acting, Rambert, The Place and Laine Theatre Arts.


CAPA College’s first year students also have plenty to look forward to, as some students will return to the College’s city centre campus for face-to-face classes and tutorials from next Monday 15th June. For the rest of term students will be working with professional artists from across the UK to create a series of new digital productions, which will be showcased at prestigious virtual events in upcoming months.


CAPA College is currently renting temporary accommodation at Unity House, Wakefield while it awaits the completion of its new, multi-million pound, purpose-built facilities on Mulberry Way (opposite Wakefield Westgate train station). Work on the flagship home of CAPA College, which will house a 150-seater theatre, rehearsal studios, production workshops and an amphitheatre, temporarily halted at the beginning of the year when Clugston Construction fell into administration. However construction will resume on the site in the very near future as the College are currently working with the Department for Education to appoint new contractors and work swiftly towards the completion of the incredible building, which is already being heralded as the ‘Gateway to Wakefield’.


In the meantime, however, CAPA College have been exploring other opportunities in the city and can now announce that from September 2020 they will be expanding their provision with unprecedented use of Unity House. Work is already underway to transform the Grade II-listed office building, which is also home to Lobby 1867 and The Establishment, into a spectacular Creative and Performing Arts centre.


CAPA College’s residency at Unity House will see the installation of nine industry-standard Performing Arts studios alongside rehearsal spaces, singing studios, a state of the art media suite, specialist production workshops, classrooms, offices and meeting spaces. The College will also bring to life Unity House’s 600-seater Major Hall, which once brought the likes of Eurhythmics, The Specials and Iron Maiden to Wakefield.


These facilities will be home for the College’s 250 full-time students who are enrolled on four specialist artistic pathways: Performing Arts, Dance, Drama and Production Arts and Media. However, for the first time members of the public will be invited to take part in classes, workshops and projects led by College’s team of award-winning teachers, dramaturges, choreographers, musical directors, designers and technicians.


CHARGE, the highly anticipated Outreach and Education Programme from CAPA College, was launched in September 2019 and already provides unique opportunities for talented young people aged 12-16 and works alongside key organisations such as Wakefield Children and Young People’s Partnership. However from the new artistic hub at Unity House, CAPA College will be expanding its outreach provision and offering more opportunities to our community in the new academic year. Watch this space!


Claire Nicholson, Principal of CAPA College, says ‘We are so excited about what will be able to offer from our new extended base at Unity House. It is paramount to the ethos of CAPA College that our students have access to the best teaching, facilities and experiences as we look to inspire and train the next generation of performers, creatives, designers and technicians. But we are also thrilled to now be in a position to share some of the magic of CAPA College with the wider community. We hope that CAPA College will become another hub for artistic talent in the North of England.’


Once again CAPA College has proved that with its dedicated, award-winning team in place and with ongoing support from its governors and Enhance Academy Trust, no obstacle is insurmountable in the quest to nurture the North’s greatest young talents. Thanks to CAPA College the future of British Creative and Performing Arts lives right here in Wakefield.