Teen protesters call for Redbridge Drama Centre to be saved from cuts

TEENAGE protesters chanted “save our drama centre” as they took to the streets to urge the borough’s decision-makers not to make swingeing cuts on the 37-year-old service.

Redbridge Drama Centre members made their voices heard in the shadow of Redbridge Town Hall, High Road, Ilford in a bid to keep the centre safe from millions of pounds of cuts set to be announced early next year.

Placards were waved at passing shoppers as the 30-strong group of youngsters made their voices heard on Thursday.

Sixteen-year-old Molly Polden, who organised the rally, said: “I just wanted to raise awareness of how much the drama centre means to us.”

The youngster of Seven Kings High School, Ley Street, Ilford, added: “We do a lot of work in schools and have put on plays including an anti-bullying one.

“I think any cuts would be tragic for the drama centre.”

The centre in Churchfields, South Woodford, works with 14,000 young people a year aged five to 21.

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It has children’s workshops, youth theatre workshops and adult theatre workshops and has a fully functioning television studio and edit suite for children to produce television programmes and films.

Protester and youth workshop member Niamh Hughes, 17, of Trinity Catholic High School, Mornington Road, Woodford Green, said: “We know they [the council] appreciate the centre and we hope they will support us.

“If there are cuts, we might only be able to go once a week because there might be less staff.

“The drama centre has really brought out my confidence and I’ve made so many friends through it.

“We perform here and abroad and it’s just such a wonderful thing. We don’t want to lose it.”

Two new studios were unveiled at the drama centre at a cost of �100,000 in September.

Redbridge Council says it expects it needs to save about �25million from its 2011/12 budget.