I’ve been chatting to Alan Justice, principal of Herbert Justice Academy (HJA), to catch up on the latest developments at the theatre school he founded in 1997.
Now in its own fully refurbished building near Elmers End Station in London Borough of Bromley — as opposed to running classes piecemeal all over the district — HJA now offers a full-time, one-year course.
I’m going to see Alan Justice next month to find out more about all this because from September he will be offering three full-time training scholarships supported by The Stage, of which more in the paper in April.
Meanwhile he tells me on the phone — and I am very impressed — that he has just set up the HJA Arts Foundation, a fund to support 20 students in full-time training at HJA. From September 20 out of the school’s 60 students - that’s one in three - will have a bursary to pay two thirds of his or her training bill. “It brings the cost down to £995 a term, or less than £100 per week which I’m hoping will make this training more available to more people,” says Justice, who seems to fund most of his ventures from personal wealth accrued through a childhood career in modelling - and wise investment by his beloved and much missed parents. (The school is named after Justice’s father).
These 20 places plus the three Stage scholarships mean that there is a total of 23 assisted opportunities at HJA this autumn and I don’t know of any other school which could manage anything like as much.
And, of course, HJA is still teaching large numbers of children in part-time classes as well as running community classes for people of all ages - in its nice building, complete with theatre and café which I’m looking forward to seeing next month. When I last visited early last year the builders were still in.