MOAT Sixth Formers Take Over Bush Hall

Pupils learn how to successfully run a music venue

Bush Hall founder Emma Hutchinson (far left) and H&F Mayor Emma Apthorp (second from left) attending the event

Shepherd's Bush music venue Bush Hall was recently taken over by local sixth formers.

The Uxbridge Road gig spot was transformed into an art museum by pupils from the MOAT special education school in Fulham. And later, they took to the stage to perform a night of music for friends and families.

The exhibition and performances were put on entirely by the students – including all aspects of running the bar, providing security, stage tech and even operating the box office.

“If we walked out, you probably wouldn’t notice,” joked Lara Coker, Commercial Director for Bush Hall. “Every single element of the show is run by the students. We’ve advised and practised how the venue works, but these young people are doing it.”

Bush Hall, as well as The Music House for Children and Next Door Records, have hosted a series of ‘music industry days’ designed to teach the MOAT students all about how to run a music venue – even down to lessons on how to DJ.

The industry days started after MOAT Head Teacher, Steve Proctor, reached out to the Founder of Music House for Children, Emma Hutchinson, hoping to set up work experience for his students.

“Ninety-five per cent of young people with special needs end up unemployed in adulthood,” Steve said. “If we as a sixth form can master the academic side and also assist them with their employability, that will hopefully help stop the statistic repeating for our students. That's our dream.”

The idea of the MOAT Takeover was to showcase everything the students have learned by working with the Uxbridge Road venues and businesses.

“It’s important for the local community to see the conviction of these children, who when they first came in would barely say a word – they’ve all come out of their shells,” added Lara. The programme included performances, short films, awards, and six internship announcements – two internships at each business.

A Moat pupil learning how to be a sound technician
A Moat pupil learning how to be a sound technician

Student president Beatrice Beckett, 16, said: “It’s great seeing it all come together. This is very new and just the start. We’re really hoping to make this an annual event.”

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July 4, 2022