Letter from Chairman (3/12/10)

3rd December 2010

As a former student of the Motley Theatre Design course the Legal Trustees feel it is important to let you know about the current situation.

Motley is a charity and its accounts do not balance without a lot of financial support, fund raising and help in kind. As it is, the majority of tutors either give their services free of charge or for a minimal fee; our landlords, Really Useful, provide the current premises for a peppercorn rent, but the school has no security of tenure.

It has become almost impossible for students at Motley to obtain financial assistance for their course fees: grants are not available to them from local authorities nor funding from student loan schemes.

Furthermore, recent immigration rules have made it even more difficult to keep to an entry criteria based on talent, regardless of country of origin.  European Union citizens have a right to attend but because the Design Course is not validated, those from anywhere else in the world are denied the student visa necessary for them to come to the UK to study at Motley.

Academic accreditation has been investigated to overcome these problems but compliance would be challenging. It would demand better facilities and a longer course with graded student assessments leading to a formal recognised qualification, which would increase overheads dramatically. These requirements would compromise Percy’s belief that the Course should be text based and practical.

The Course premises are in a former shop in Drury Lane, London, behind the Theatre Royal.  Although in a theatre land location the facilities are a far cry from present day training establishments elsewhere.  The students can and do work in these conditions but, if accreditation were sought, the present surroundings would not be acceptable nor would they pass standard requirements. Lease terms place an onus on the Course to fund any alterations which current regulations necessitate.  A significant increase in course fees to fund such improvements would severely restrict entry and it has proved impossible to establish a fund to provide for this and for the secure future of The Motley Theatre Design Course.

The Future

The Trustees have considered the present and future financial situation and have reluctantly concluded that rather than compromise on any of Percy Harris’ founding criteria, the present course (45) will be the last for the time being. No further applications will be accepted for registration until all the Trustees have formally met some time during January 2011, to discuss the future of the Course.

Yours sincerely

John Simpson

Chairman –  Motley Theatre Design Course

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