Hertfordshire school shares in Renée Zellweger’s Oscars success
The UK’s most prestigious performing arts school is celebrating Renee Zellweger’s Oscars success for her portrayal of Judy Garland in the bio pic Judy after the school played a key role in the filming of the movie.
Tring Park School for the Performing Arts in Hertfordshire, which boasts a glittering alumni that includes Daisy Ridley and Lily James, provided the backdrop for many of the scenes in Judy, which depicts Judy’s time in London in the late 1960s where she performed in a series of sold-out stage performances, Talk of the Town, as she struggled to deal with a desperate financial situation, and her addiction to drugs and alcohol.
Tring Park, located in the Hertfordshire countryside, was chosen as a location for the movie as Judy spent the last few months of her life in England. The film was directed by British director Rupert Goold, who is also the artistic director of London’s Almeida Theatre.
The assembly hall in the school, which is housed in a former Rothschild Mansion*, was transformed into a London hotel dining room for a number scenes in the movie, while a room in the basement of the Mansion House was transformed into Judy’s dressing room for her shows Talk of the Town. The filming of Judy at Tring Park helps to embellish the already fascinating history of the school.
Filming took place during April 2018 and Renee was on set for filming throughout the month along with Jessie Buckley and Michael Gambon.
As well as Daisy Ridley and Lily James, Tring Park’s glittering alumni includes:
- Jessica Brown-Findlay (Downton Abbey)
- Director and choreographer Drew McOnie, who won the 2016 Olivier Award for Best Theatre Choreographer for his work on In the Heights. Drew has also directed Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ballroomin the West End, and King Kong on Broadway;
- Six Tring Park students aged between 15 and 18 performed in the world premiere tour of Sir Matthew Bourne’s Romeo + Juliet, which is a passionate and contemporary reimagining of Shakespeare’s classic love story.
- Joe Griffiths-Brown, who graduated from Tring Park School in 2018, plays Man 1 and Charles Lee in the smash-hit musical Hamilton.
- Former student Sofia Oxenham played the new character “feisty” Tess Tregidden in the latest series of BBC One’s Poldark.
- Ex-Tring Park student Bart Edwards is currently starring in the Netflix smash hit series The Witcher.
- Former X Factor star Ella Henderson is also an alumni and recently returned to the school in November on a trip down memory lane when her new song, ‘Young’, was released.
Tring Park School is both a day and boarding school for students aged eight to 19. Alongside a broad academic curriculum, the school offers courses in dance, acting and musical theatre to learners up to the age of 16. Sixth Form students are able to study Acting, Musical Theatre and Commercial Music up to age 18 while dancers can take a three-year course, graduating at age 19.
*Tring Park was built to a design of Sir Christopher Wren in 1685 and was visited several times by Charles II. Sir William Gore, Lord Mayor of London bought the house in 1705 and it remained in his family for two subsequent generations. in 1786, it was sold to Sir Drummond Smith, a London banker, who refurbished the interior in Georgian style and remodelled the park in the fashion made popular by “Capability” Brown.
William Kay, a Manchester textile magnate, bought the estate in 1823 and in 1838, Nathan de Rothschild began renting Tring Park as a summer residence. When the property was sold in 1872, Lionel de Rothschild bought it as a wedding present for his son, Sir Nathaniel (later Lord) de Rothschild.
Lord Rothschild’s family grew up and lived at Tring Park until the death of the dowager Lady Rothschild in 1935. The house was used by the NM Rothschild and Sons bank during World War II before being taken over by the Arts Educational School (re-named Tring Park School for the Performing Arts) in 1945.