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banner Monday, 25 March, 2002, 12:33 GMT
Broadbent boost for old school
Jim Broadbent
Broadbent: "Absolutely at hoime" at LAMDA
Oscar winner Jim Broadbent has another battle on his hands in the UK.

He is one of a group of actors who are attempting to raise £5m to pay for a permanent home for the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (Lamda).

Broadbent and the other alumni of the acting school are trying to raise the money in the light of a National Lottery Fund decision not to support the project.

David Suchet
LAMDA alumnus Suchet in BBC TV's The Way We Live Now
Other ex-Lamda actors campaigning for the new centre include Patricia Hodge, Harriet Walter and David Suchet.

Broadbent has described his schooling at Lamda as "totally invaluable".

"As soon as I started , the first week, I knew I was absolutely at home and it was brilliant," he told a fundraising breakfast at the Duke of York theatre on 14 March.

"When I was at LAMDA there were half the number of students there are now, and we were short of space then," he added.

Inadequate

The Campaign for Lamda aims to secure the purchase of a building in nearby Talgarth Road in Hammersmith, west London - the old base of the Royal Ballet School.

Lamda says that its current facilities - acquired in 1946 when the academy trained 15 to 20 students a year - are totally inadequate for the current complement of 230 students.

The academy says it has to hire rooms to train its students throughout London, adding to costs and wasting time.

John Bayley, Jim Broadbent, Dame Judi Dench
Judi Dench starred with Broadbent in Iris, based on John Bayley's memoirs
The new building will cost some £3.5m and renovation costs are expected to amount to another £1.5m.

But after a £22m handout for the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (Rada) the National Lottery Fund has decided not to fund further similar projects in London.

Lamda chairman Luke Rittner described the decision as "a great blow", and contrasted it with the recent move to invite the academy to join the UK's invitation to newly established Conservatoire for Dance and Drama.

But Lamda claims to have already achieved nearly half its £5m target.

See also:

14 Jan 02 | Oscars 2002
Dench's touching elegy for Iris
14 Jan 02 | Film
Stars attend Iris première
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