Former tax office to be transformed into academy for the performing arts

A multi-million-pound performing arts school is set to be built on the site of a former tax office in West Lothian next year.
Laura Proudfoot and Marcella Macdonald checking out the plans for the new academy.Laura Proudfoot and Marcella Macdonald checking out the plans for the new academy.
Laura Proudfoot and Marcella Macdonald checking out the plans for the new academy.

The MGA Academy of Performing Arts will open a 30,000 sq ft purpose-built campus in Barbara Ritchie House in Livingston next year.

With their existing facility in Balgreen in Edinburgh, the school is hoping to triple its yearly student intake.

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The expansion will allow the academy to offer more courses including masters degrees and co-validating degrees with American education agencies.

The campus will host the school’s full-time programmes and will feature 18 state-of-the-art studios, a costume department, singing rooms, a library, showers and changing areas, staff offices, a large study area and, outside, 130 parking spaces.

More than 500 students from across the world are expected to train in acting, dance and musical theatre at the academy each year, with an extensive programme of 11 BA degrees and three masters degrees, as well as foundation courses and extensive opportunities for youngsters aged two to 18.

The project will be led by Giles Auckland-Lewis, CEO of the MGA Academy, and represents a significant boost to Scotland’s arts scene during a challenging time for the industry.

Mr Auckland-Lewis said: “The academy has long boasted tuition on a par with the top London schools, and with these fantastic new facilities and our outstanding principal, Marcella Macdonald, remaining at the helm, we are in a great position to continue to develop our reputation as a serious competitor to the country’s most successful arts education institutions and to attract and embrace an international student population to study a range of BA and Masters degrees.”

The MGA Academy of Performing Arts was established in 2005 to provide a platform for aspiring performers to remain in Scotland while studying at a level equivalent to prestigious London colleges.

Graduates have gone on to star in productions on television and the West End such as Catherine the Great, Gossip Girl, Wicked and Grease.



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