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Drama studio named after Imelda Staunton at star’s former school

Vera Drake actor meets pupils following in her footsteps at La Sainte Union

11 May, 2019 — By Dan Carrier

Imelda Staunton with two of her childhood teachers Maureen O’Brien and Susan Hall

IT was back to school for Imelda Staunton on Thursday – as the star of Vera Drake and the Harry Potter films helped celebrate a new drama studio named after her at a Highgate school.

The Oscar-nominated actor, who grew up in Archway, was at La Sainte Union, her former school near Parliament Hill Fields. She watched excerpts of Macbeth performed by pupils and recalled her time at the secondary school. Two of her former teachers, Maureen O’Brien, who taught her English and history, and Susan Hall, who taught geography, were also there to greet her.

Ms Staunton told pupils: “This new studio shows the school’s commitment towards drama – and it is commitment you need to have in your life, whether it is for drama, music, science or whatever subject you choose to study.” She added: “I am really jealous of this wonderful new studio – we used to have to rehearse in the dining hall when I was here. Science classes have their own labs – and it is only right drama also has its own dedicated space.”

She recalled appearing in productions of The Beggar’s Opera and Pride and Prejudice as a pupil, and how the school also gave her elocution lessons.

She also recalled a report that read: “Imelda could try harder at her studies, if she wasn’t so busy acting.” “I always felt this was my subject,” she said.

Head of drama Sarah O’Keefe said the new studio would allow pupils to get the best from their talent. She said: “We are lucky to have this beautiful space to work in, and we are also lucky to have Imelda here to open it officially. She is a great role model for our pupils – she embodies every character she plays.”

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