Theatre school expands into unused former ballroom

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A former TV presenter and her actor husband have revealed they are expanding their Lincoln theatre school again – taking over a former city ballroom building.

Sarah-Jane Honeywell, who used to present CBeebies and is now on BBC Radio Lincolnshire, and husband Ayden Callaghan, who used to be an actor on TV’s Hollyoaks and Emmerdale, are leasing 14, Clasketgate – a building which was once the Montana ballroom. The building, with its striking Art Deco frontage believed to have been added in 1934, will be the new base for the couple’s Curious Theatre School. 

The couple opened their theatre school originally in Bailgate Methodist church hall in Lincoln before expanding into its current premises, Wolsey’s Rest in Grantham Street, which was a former St John Ambulance HQ.

Such has been the popularity of the Theatre School, they are now leasing the Clasketgate premises which was available for rent with Brown&Co JHWalter.

“We hope to reinstate the Montana name of the ballroom and would love to restore it,” said Sarah-Jane. “It’s a large building and we hope to have the main studio on the first floor and two more studios upstairs. We hope to use the front of the building for a charity which helps with youngsters with mental health issues. Our aim is to create a big creative hub for young people in Lincoln.”

Sarah-Jane said she and her husband decided to leave London for Lincoln because her family lived in Retford – they chose a better quality of life and really enjoy passing on the acting, dance and drama skills they’ve learned to young people.

And will their sons be following in their footsteps and joining the school? “My eldest Phoenix wants to be an engineer, to build bridges but my youngest may when he starts in reception at school.”

Sarah-Jane said there was lots to do to get the building ready. “We plan to move in and I’m so excited because I have been told there is a hidden stage somewhere – it would be amazing if we could get a grant to restore it and reinstate this.”

The rental was managed by Will Gaunt and James Cameron from Brown&Co JHWalter’s Commercial department.

Will said: “We are delighted that the building, which holds so many memories for people in Lincoln; both from when it was a ballroom to more recent ventures such as a restaurant, is being taken on by Sarah-Jane and Ayden for such a deserving cause.

“It benefits the community and we look forward to watching the theatre school thrive and prosper in its new home – and see a striking building put to good use again.”