2017 marks the 170th birthday of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, with its roots stretching back to 1847 when it was the first institution of its kind in Scotland to be established.

For 170 years, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland has been teaching the performing arts in Glasgow, and is today recognised as one of the leading performing arts education institutions in the world. (QS World Rankings rated RCS as 3rd in the world in 2017).

To celebrate this historical milestone, the Royal Conservatoire will later this month launch a year-long celebration of performances and special events that will recognise its rich history and its world class reputation for performing arts education.

More details on this celebratory calendar will be launched in the coming weeks, however, here is a brief timeline of the history of the Royal Conservatoire.

  • Founded as the Glasgow Athenaeum in 1847, with an inaugural address given by Charles Dickens
  • We started out as part of the Glasgow Athenaeum in 1847, teaching commerce, literature, language, science, mathematics and music
  • The Glasgow Athenaeum split in 1888-90, the music side eventually becoming RCS and the rest becoming University of Strathclyde
  • We were the first British drama school to contain a full broadcast-specification television studio in 1962 (the birth of our Filmmaking degree programme)
  • We were the first conservatoire in the United Kingdom to be granted degree-awarding powers
  • In 1987 we moved from our original Victorian building on Buchanan Street to the current custom-built building on Renfrew St, opened by our patron, Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother
  • The first RCS honorary doctorate was awarded to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother at Clarence House on 17 November 1994 to mark her Golden Jubilee as patron
  • In 1995 actor Judi Dench received an honorary doctorate from the then RSAMD
  • HRH Prince Charles has been our Patron since 2003
  • In 2011, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland opened the Wallace Studios, a purpose-built teaching facility for the performing and production arts
  • David Tennant attended our Junior Conservatoire drama classes at the age of 16 and then studied the degree from 17-20 years old. He was then awarded an honorary doctorate in 2016 for his work in the drama profession.