Jo and Rupert Barrington at the Jellicoe Theatre in Poole

PUBLISHED: 16:57 24 September 2015 | UPDATED: 17:07 09 November 2015

Jo and Rupert Barrington

Jo and Rupert Barrington

Hattie Miles 07907 645897

Dorset’s got talent, thanks in part to a new £11 million college theatre that plans to flood the West End with home-grown stars.

The Jellicoe Theatre in Poole - which has just opened with a performance of Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles - will showcase both student and professional productions.

But there’s no mystery as to the Jellicoe’s success. Home to Bournemouth and Poole College’s performing arts department, its alumni include Amanda Holden.

Replacing the college’s old, defunct site with state-of-the classrooms, dance studios and a music hall as well as a 114-seater theatre, this is the hottest ticket in town.

The complex is largely the brainchild of husband-and-wife team Jo and Rupert Barrington - respectively head of performing arts and theatre manager.

Jo, a former West End musical theatre star who herself trained at the college, believes that theatre is about more than just performance. “We have 250 students here, aged 16 and upwards. It would be totally unrealistic to think they can all be stars. Some will, some won’t. But the real strength of drama is that it allows you to be the best possible version of yourself.

“Theatre isn’t just about performing on TV, it’s about finding a sense of who you are. We’re incredibly proud that all our students go on to something else, whether it be higher education, drama school, another course or a job.”

The course covers all aspects of theatre production including design, costume and lighting. But Jo says her hardest challenge is working with her husband. She laughs: “Of course it’s difficult. But I’m his boss - so that helps!”

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