Tring performing arts school helps set the stage for winning film

Tring Park School for the Performing Arts is celebrating Renee Zellweger’s Oscars success, after the school played a key role in the filming of the movie for which she won Best Actress

Zellweger won the award for her portrayal of Judy Garland in the biopic Judy.

Former school caretaker Andy Wells with Renee Zellweger

Former school caretaker Andy Wells with Renee Zellweger

The film depicts Judy Garland’s time in London in the late 1960s, where she performed in a series of sold-out stage performances, as she struggled to deal with a desperate financial situation and drug and alcohol addiction.

And Tring Park School for the Performing Arts, housed in a former Rothschild mansion, provided the backdrop for many of the scenes.

The school assembly hall was transformed into a London hotel dining room for a number of scenes, while a room in the basement of the mansion was transformed into Judy’s dressing room for her shows, Talk of the Town.

Tring Park was built to a design of Sir Christopher Wren in 1685 and was visited several times by King Charles II. Sir William Gore, Lord Mayor of London, bought the house in 1705 and it remained in his family for two subsequent generations.

Dressing room

Dressing room

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 de Rothschild.

Lord Rothschild’s family 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 the Second World War, before being taken over by the Arts Educational School (renamed Tring Park School for the Performing Arts) in 1945.