Emerging artists win funding kick-start from Royal Conservatoire of Scotland to Make it Happen

Emerging artists win funding kick-start from Royal Conservatoire of Scotland to Make it Happen

Published: 29/03/2019

Some of the country’s most dynamic, creative young artists are to receive a kick-start to their careers, thanks to funding from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

The Make It Happen Fund will support 16 award recipients in a range of exciting projects as they embark upon professional artistic careers following their studies at Scotland’s national conservatoire, which is consistently recognised as one of the world’s top performing arts education institutions.

The £10,000 micro-funding initiative has awarded sums ranging from £250 to £750 following a competitive application process, supporting avenues like early stage development, the training and testing of ideas and the forming of new companies and collaborations. Successful projects include the development of an audiovisual piece for performance at Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts, recording and production of an EP to showcase a new musical and a week-long development lab to develop a new piece of theatre.

Professor Jeffrey Sharkey, Principal of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, said: “Creative performers and producers are at the forefront when it comes to transforming and enriching our society. As our graduates take their first steps into professional careers in the performing and production arts, support from Make It Happen could be the spark which helps to ignite a brilliant new idea for a piece of ground-breaking artistic practice.

“Congratulations to all those who have been awarded funding and I look forward to seeing how their projects progress over the coming months.”

The full list of recipients are:

  • Matthew Grouse, BMus 2018: producing a large scale audiovisual piece, The Spectrum of Abstraction, for performance at Glasgow’s CCA in 2020
  • Nicholas Barton-Wines, BA Acting 2016: attending two Independent Theatre Council (ITC) training courses
  • Will Stringer BA CPP, 2018: developing a performance piece using film, audio recorded interviews/soundscapes, poetic text and movement scores, called Sappho Blue
  • Conor McMahon, BA DFT 2017: supporting festival distribution of recently completed short film, Spaceship, with fellow RCS alumni
  • Claire Macallister, MA CCT 2018: hiring of rehearsal space and dramaturg to develop new piece of theatre, Best Before, with alumna Rebecca Dunn
  • Eoin McKenzie, BA CPP 2018: supporting week-long research and development phase for collaborative performance with graduate Ricky Williamson, called All or Nothing
  • Lucie Hendry, BMUS 2018: Scottish folk duo, Aves o’ May, with graduate Rebecca Amphlett, will record and master an EP and music video
  • Michael Longden, MMUS 2016: will attend a musical director’s vocal technique retreat
  • Caitlin Fairlie, BA CPP 2018: development and direction planning of new creative collective POWERHAUS, with fellow CPP graduate Laura Fisher
  • Shonagh Murray, MA MT 2017: EP Recording and production of EP for original musical produced by Fearless Players, a partnership with graduate Lydia Davidson
  • David Wood, MA CCT 2017: week-long development lab for new piece of theatre with Will Underwood, a fellow MA CCT graduate
  • Stuart Leech, BA Production Technology and Management 2017: IOSH professional development through attendance at safety and first aid training courses
  • Shilpa T-Hyland, MA CCT 2018: research and development of a site-responsive performance inspired by the W.I.T.C.H. movement of the 1970s
  • Jennifer Hart, MA MT 2018: will be attending Estill Level 1 course in vocal health and teaching
  • Alisa Kalyanova, BA Production Art and Design 2017: scouting sites with director Jack Nurse (CPP 2016) in Dumfries and Galloway to further develop a theatre project which reinterprets traditional Scottish folk tales
  • Balazs Renczes, BMus 2018: developing the online presence for The Broen Ensemble, a young and exciting string ensemble.

Make It Happen Fund recipients include:

Composer Matthew Grouse graduated with a Bachelor of Music (Honours) degree in 2018. He is being supported with a large scale audiovisual work in collaboration with visual artist Andy Sowerby, which will be presented by Cryptic at Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts in 2020. The Spectrum of Abstraction is a triptych that investigates the ways we process multi-sensory information, and how music can alter our interpretation of visual information and vice-versa. The project, which sees Matthew working with visual artist Andy Sowerby, challenges ocularcentrism in audiovisual work, instead exploring the haptic, where the eye and ear take on a quality of touching.

Matthew said: “I’m absolutely thrilled and incredibly grateful to be one of the first batch of awardees of the Make It Happen Fund. The work that the award will support is, in many respects, a completely new venture, allowing Andy and I to synthesise various media and forms of expression.

“The funding will not only go towards technical delivery (including building projection screens and instruments), but it will also allow us to offer fair performance fees to the musicians and artists that we work with. Funding initiatives like this can ultimately lead to more financially equitable environments for artists who are just starting out.”

Claire Macallister and Rebecca Robin, pictured top, are more graduates to receive funding from Make It Happen. The 2018 Masters in Classical and Contemporary Text alumna is being supported with development of show, Best Before, by her theatre company HISSYFIT. The show questions our core assumptions about virginity, consent, and about women’s resilience to barter against their own sexual currency, conceived while still students at RCS.

Claire said: “We are thrilled to have been given this opportunity from RCS to develop Best Before into a full show, one that will act as the inaugural production of our theatre company, HISSYFIT, and will utilise a variety of recent RCS graduates.

“RCS has thoroughly committed itself to supporting their graduates in developing sustainable and engaging careers, and we are very thankful for the encouragement.”

Director and theatre maker Nicholas Barton-Wines graduated from the BA (Acting) degree in 2016. Support from Make It Happen will enable him to attend Independent Theatre Council courses, developing and consolidating skills in vital areas of his artistic practice.

Nicholas said: “This funding recognises the importance of early-career support by allowing me to do something I otherwise would not have the capacity to do. These courses will solidify my skills learned on the job leading creative projects. Interdisciplinary practice was instilled in me during my training at RCS and Make It Happen is underpinning this practice with new skills to help take our work into the wider world.”

Hereafter is site-specific theatre performance which is being developed by designer and BA Production Arts and Design graduate Alisa Kalyanova and director, Contemporary Performance Practice graduate Jack Nurse. The performance will take place in Jack’s home region of Dumfries and Galloway, focusing on reinterpreting traditional Scottish folktales to tell an urgent contemporary story.

Alisa said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be supported by Make It Happen fund. It will allow us to visit various sites across the region of Dumfries and Galloway and do an additional research and development session on the site. Jack and I are extremely grateful for this opportunity to take the project further.”

Master of Arts (Scottish Music) graduate Beccy Amphlett and Bachelor of Music (Traditional Music) alumna Lucie Hendry form duo, Aves o’ May, which began through their shared desire to bring music to audiences and communities across the country who do not get the opportunity to experience live folk music. The pair strongly believe in the therapeutic effect of music which is their driving force in sharing music that is uplifting, peaceful and joyful.

Lucie said: “We are absolutely delighted and very grateful to receive an award from the Make It Happen fund towards producing our first EP and music video as it will help in facilitating opportunities to share our music, both nationally and internationally, while allowing many people to experience the wonderful effect that music has holistically and socially. We are excited to explore the true impact that music can have in people’s lives and feel honoured that we will have a significant role in the experiences yet to come.”

Make It Happen Fund is a micro-funding initiative launched by the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Its purpose is to give the institution’s most recent graduates access to a competitive pot of seed funding to support their career goals and ambitions. The fund aims to create access to a source of funding that will support graduates’ early stage career development in a range of areas, including: training, networking, testing ideas, starting up companies, staging pop-up events and forming new collaborations.

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland adopts a range of approaches to the learning and teaching of enterprise and employability. Graduates are excellent and reflective arts practitioners who lead, achieve and innovate.

More information on Make It Happen is available on the RCS website.

(Image by David Mar Photography)

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