Garfield Weston Foundation awards LAMDA major grant

19 January 2024

We are thrilled to announce that Garfield Weston Foundation has granted £220,000 to LAMDA. This leadership gift will enhance our new Virtual Production facilities through the acquisition of a state-of-the-art SUMOSKY light rig and soundproofing of the Weston Studio. ​​​​​​

LAMDA remains deeply grateful to Garfield Weston Foundation for its longstanding support, particularly through our most recent capital campaign, further to which the Weston Studio was named in recognition of the Foundation's major contributions. 

In March 2023, LAMDA made a successful bid to the Office for Students which awarded us £1.9m to invest in Virtual Production (VP) and Motion Capture (Mocap) technology. Following the installation of our new LED wall background (or 'volume') in the Weston Studio in our RIBA Award-winning West Wing, we can now recreate sustainably any environment using computer-generated imagery footage before actors have even arrived on set. Some of the most innovative and celebrated television and film studios are using VP, for example Disney+'s The Mandalorian (2019) and The Batman (2022).

With Garfield Weston Foundation's latest capacity-building gift to LAMDA, the Weston Studio will reach its full creative potential through the procurement of a SUMOSKY light rig and soundproofing. The revolutionary SUMOSKY will enable us to emulate the exact lighting and shadows you would experience in the real world for any virtual set we create. And the soundproofing will mean that the Weston Studio becomes a world-class micro sound stage, providing the first viable space for professional-standard filming at LAMDA.

With this outstanding funding, LAMDA will become one of the first drama schools in the UK to offer training in this technology where there is an industry-wide skills gap. Furthermore, we will democratise VP by integrating the technology into our Access & Widening Participation offerings and making it available to our alumni and independent filmmakers at an affordable rate. 

As the Garfield Weston Foundation Trustees themselves noted, training in the latest technologies is increasingly important for our students – both actors and technical students – to be ready for the industry they are entering.

LAMDA's President, Benedict Cumberbatch CBE, said: 

'LAMDA is committed to equipping its students across all courses with the knowledge, experience and confidence they need to enter a rapidly evolving industry … With our new Virtual Production and Motion Capture facilities, we will further enhance the learning experience both in front of and behind the camera. Through our outstanding teaching and state-of-the-art resources, we will continue to prepare our actors, directors, and production and technical arts practitioners to embrace technological change.’  

Image photographer: Jon Holloway

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For more information about the Garfield Weston Foundation, please visit their website.

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