The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland works closely with all students to help them learn and unlock their own individual artistic style. One programme, which places this focus above all else, is the MA/MFA in Acting/Directing Classical and Contemporary Text which works specifically with actors and directors to help blend traditional and contemporary artistic approaches providing a platform for students to broaden and deepen their individual practice.
We sat down with Marc Silberschatz, Head of Classical and Contemporary Text, for some quick-fire questions about this programme which places the student and their artistic individuality at its core.
What is your favourite aspect of the programme?
Getting to watch students take full ownership of their own learning and artistry; at the end of the day, they’re making their own work, not my work and not somebody else’s work. They are the ones who must do it and this postgraduate programme is uniquely designed to empower them to do just that.
What makes this MA/MFA Classical and Contemporary Text programme unique?
More than any others that I am aware of, we’ve built this programme around helping our students be the artists they want to be. Not the artist someone else wants them to be. Their agency as an artist and as learners is the axis of their studies here at the Royal Conservatoire.
Where will this programme lead a student?
Anywhere they want.
What have you learnt from your CCT students?
Our MA/MFA students come from across the world from a variety of backgrounds, training experiences, and often from quite a wide age range. What’s truly amazing about that is, when you get to spend an extended and concentrated time in a such a diverse room with that range of people you cannot help but learn that there is more to art, to acting, to directing, and to people than we can ever hope to understand from our own limited individual perspectives.
What has been a standout moment for you as the Head of Classical and Contemporary Text?
Personally, there isn’t one single standout moment. The reality of working in the arts is that we too often focus on the individual moment rather than the hours, days, weeks, months, and years spent working towards the final product; arguably, this time spent is as important, if not more important, than any individual moment. I’d say the standout moment will always be the journey, not the destination.
This programme gives students the opportunity to spend a month at the Globe Theatre in London, how does the partnership benefit the students?
The Globe Theatre is a unique place, particularly in the exploration of classical texts and with its educational arm which achieves the difficult challenge of simultaneously looking back and looking forward. Stepping onto the Globe’s stage you get an embodied understanding of how the plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries were written and the context in which they were written for, something that you cannot gain anywhere else in the world.
Whilst looking back is useful for contextualisation, to only look backwards treats these pieces of work like they belong in a museum and would also continue the iniquitous process of canonising the work of dead white men. Where the Globe in particular shines is that they look forward and ask what it means to approach Shakespeare and other plays from that era from the perspective of today; from an anti-racist lens, from an anti-colonialist lens, from a feminist lens. Doing so results in fantastically reimagined pieces that continue to speak to us in a way that speaks to all of us, rather than to those who have, historically, enjoyed tremendous privilege.
By experiencing this, the MA/MFA students benefit from the month-long placement at Globe immensely as it enriches their experiences and helps them hone their individualistic artistry even further.
What do you look for in a student?
Rigor, commitment and daring.
For those looking for more information about the MA/MFA in Acting/Directing Classical and Contemporary Text more information is available on our postgraduate degree programmes page.