History of the school
The School opened initially as two, the first was founded in 1919 by Grace Cone and the second in 1922 by Olive Ripman. The Cone and Ripman Schools pioneered specialised training in the Arts for talented children in preparation for a career in the theatre. In 1939 the two schools merged to become the Cone Ripman School. This later became known as The Arts Educational School.
With the outbreak of the Second World War, The Arts Educational School was relocated from London and found its home in the Hertfordshire countryside at Tring Park.
In 1970, the School acquired the freehold of the Mansion and undertook a programme of improvements. These were funded by the sale of land, which now forms the houses known as Mansion Drive.
Planned in three stages and officially opened in 1976 by the Duchess of Kent, the new facilities which included, new art rooms, classrooms, music practice and common rooms and a new heating system, greatly improved the School for pupils and teachers alike. These were designed and built, along with two double height ballet studios, a new medical suite and a range of dormitories, with materials sympathetic to the original design.
Diana Loudan, a pupil at the School between 1944-48, designed the statue known as the ‘Spirit of Grace’, that can be found in the courtyard. In 1990, following a fundraising appeal, the Markova Theatre was officially opened by HRH Prince Edward. Shortly after this, in 1993, boys were admitted to the school. In 1999, the Trust purchased the former Convent House of St Francis de Sales, Tring, for use as an offsite boarding house for senior pupils. The second offsite house, “Longfield” was purchased one year later.
In 2002, the science laboratories were enlarged and refurbished, together with the IT Suite and the Design and Textiles Room. The Courtyard was also completely remodelled.
In 2009, the School was renamed Tring Park School for the Performing Arts and in 2011 The Countess Verulam officially opened the Park Studios - five architecturally designed award-winning performance studios.