Monday, 22 April 2024

We were delighted to officially open The Richard Cairns Building on Friday 19 April 2024

On Friday 19 April, a group of invited Head Teachers came together to celebrate the opening of The Richard Cairns Building.

A hub for performing arts, computing, and complete with a new Sixth Form Centre, the building, designed by Dutch architects krft, was showcased perfectly by the first ever school performance in the new theatre.

Our special guest was BAFTA award-winning film producer, David Heyman, who was introduced with a showreel of some of his greatest works including Paddington, Wonka, Barbie and Harry Potter. Venetia Street (New, Upper Sixth) and James Davies (Ryle, Upper Sixth) appeared on stage in character as Brighton College’s own Barbie and Ken, bringing on a giant red button that Mr Heyman pressed to officially open the building.

Pupils from across our performing arts disciplines then presented an exceptional programme of drama, dance and music. With a medley from the Michaelmas term’s acclaimed production of Into the Woods rallying the night, the audience then sat in pin-drop silence, in appreciation of Oscar Gardner’s (Durnford, Upper Sixth) piano recital.

Award-winning choir performances showcased our collective vocal talent, and the Senior Boys Dance Squad and Dance Senior Show Team, accompanied by the College’s Show Band, ended the first event in our incredible new theatre. The stars of the evening were arguably our comperes Kathleen Keaney (Chichester, Upper Sixth), Joshua Gosling Catchpole (Aldrich, Lower Sixth) and Felix McNamara (Abraham, Lower Sixth). All of whom took on multiple roles, showcasing their abilities to much hilarity. Felix was a particular chameleon on the night; a notable appearance as Freddie Mercury got the crowd singing in their seats.

Huge congratulations to all involved in the wonderful evening – the first of many to come in the new building.

Thank you to the many parents and Old Brightonians who made donations in support of this wonderful facility for our school community; your generosity is hugely appreciated.


Lord Maude, Chair of Governors wrote:

The building is significant for our Head Master as he hands over that particular mantle to become our Group Principal. In his 18 years at the helm numbers have doubled, applications have quadrupled, two boarding Houses have become six, academic results have become consistently outstanding, and the co-curricular and sporting programme is more impressive than ever. The College has expanded geographically too, with four College prep schools and seven international schools in its growing family. And most importantly, the College has rooted its ethos in kindness, establishing a reputation for being one of the most inclusive schools in the country, and (through our support for the London Academy of Excellence, Opening Doors, Brighton Pride and Ukrainian refugees) one of the most committed to being a part of society rather than set apart from it. As such, I am delighted that we can thank Richard by naming this building after him. I am also delighted that he will still be very present to enjoy it as he heads up our ambitious new plans for the wider Brighton College Family. 

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