The next significant project in Queen Elizabeth’s School’s estates strategy will be the creation of a studio and lecture theatre, the Robert Dudley Studio.

Drama has enjoyed a resurgence at QE in recent years and the new studio will provide greatly improved facilities, enabling us to strengthen the dramatic arts at the School. The studio will be created from existing rooms within the Main Building (scroll down for more details), with conversion work starting in the spring of 2024. It will have a capacity of 200, so that an entire year group can be accommodated at the same time.

The choice of project is a recognition that through drama, and through other performance-oriented activities such as public-speaking and debating, boys learn oracy and self-presentation skills that will stand them in good stead in their later lives and careers.

They come to appreciate that communicating effectively means more than simply speaking words aloud: it is about posture, tone, and projection, about understanding and ‘reading’ others. Moreover, by engaging with great minds such as Shakespeare, pupils gain a broader understanding of argument and nuance; they can savour, and hopefully make use of, the wonderful richness of the English language, and they learn to reflect more deeply on the human condition. Participation in drama, public-speaking and debating, thus helps equip boys to become the leaders of the future out in the ‘real world’.

Of course, some people ‘come alive on stage’, as the saying goes – and the School certainly wants to offer those boys opportunities to develop their acting further. We also want to provide avenues for others who find their métier in areas such as sound and lighting.

Completion of the project will require a substantial investment, which The Friends of Queen Elizabeth’s are supporting: it will take both time and effort to accumulate the funds required for this next act in the 450-year story of Queen Elizabeth’s School.

“It’s a great honour to support this incredible initiative at QE”

Global internet personality, top podcaster and Old Elizabethan Jay Shetty (1999–2006) has spoken out in support of the Robert Dudley Studio. After a period living as a Hindu monk, Jay started his career at Accenture. He has been listed on the prestigious Forbes 30 under 30 list and is known for his mission of “making wisdom go viral”. Watch him below explain why he is backing the project.