RCS News: November

Worldwide competitions, top companies and sparkling festive fun for ballet students

From competing in one of the world’s top ballet competitions to working with leading UK dance companies – it has been a whirl of activity for Modern Ballet students.

If you’re off to see Scottish Ballet’s Cinders!, look out for five third-year dancers who have joined the company to perform in this highly anticipated festive production. Tahlia Buckley, Mia Nicholas, Mary-Jean Riley, Phoebe Watson and Elizabeth Williams have been rehearsing with Scottish Ballet for several weeks and will take to the stage at Glasgow’s Theatre Royal from 9-31 December, before setting off for Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Inverness and Newcastle.

© Robbie McFadzean

Second and third-year dancers delighted audiences at Gleneagles last weekend in two enchanting performances in the hotel’s glamorous ballroom. The Fairy Glen featured excerpts from La Sylphide and The Sleeping Beauty, with narration from BA Acting student, Darragh Kemish.

Through the Gleneagles partnership, young artists are supported financially, as well as receiving unique performance opportunities like this special festive event. View the full set of Gleneagles images on the RCS Flickr.

Second year students are just back from a development week with international choreographer Mark Bruce at his studio in Somerset. Mark choreographed a new piece which will be unveiled at the ballet showcase next year.

Huge congrats to third year Aoife Rosenmeier and second year Antonia Cramb who were in London last month to take part in the Margot Fonteyn International Ballet Competition, the Royal Academy of Dance’s flagship annual event, formerly known as the Genée.

One of the most prestigious ballet competitions in the world, it attracts the finest young dancers trained in the RAD syllabus, from around the globe. Aoife and Antonia both qualified for the semi-finals, with Antonia one of only 8 female dancers selected for the final, where she performed two solos at His Majesty’s Theatre in London’s West End.

Kerry Livingstone, Head of Modern Ballet, said: “Antonia and Aoife represented themselves and RCS brilliantly all week and I’d like to wholeheartedly congratulate them both. It is a wonderful achievement to have made the semi-final, and final, from a worldwide field of dancers.”

The week-long competition attracted 79 candidates, who took part in coaching sessions by Endalyn Taylor, David Nixon and Sarah Wildor, and semi-finals judged by a panel comprising Dame Darcey Bussell, President of the RAD and Guest Principal Coach of The Royal Ballet; Aaron Watkin, Artistic Director of English National Ballet; and Amanda Britton, Chief Executive, Principal and Artistic Director of Rambert School.


Creative Conversation with Patrick Doyle

© Michael Carlo Photography

We are delighted to welcome world-renowned composer, and RCS alumnus, Patrick Doyle to our New Athenaeum Theatre on Monday 11 December.

The Creative Conversation, for students and staff, will be hosted by Billy Differ, Chief Operating Officer of Delfont Mackintosh Theatres. Billy will discuss with Patrick his 50-year career across film, television, radio and theatre, followed by a Q&A with questions from the audience.

Patrick has scored some of the biggest movies in modern cinema history including Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Thor, Disney hits Brave and Cinderella, and British classics Gosford Park, Sense and Sensibility and Bridget Jones’s Diary. In 2023, Patrick was also commissioned to compose The Coronation March which was performed live as part of the Royal Coronation in May 2023.


Culture Code: a musical celebration of Ukrainian music and culture

Rehearsal shot © Robbie McFadzean

Culture Code, on Thursday 23 November, fused music and performance to showcase the rich musical history of Ukraine. More than twenty musicians from across RCS joined forces with two BA Acting students to present a programme that spanned the centuries, from the 10th century to the present day.

“The concept of the concert was to showcase Ukraine’s rich music and culture through the centuries, and its influence on western composers, in a chronological journey,” explained cellist Kateryna Tunina in this video, a second-year Bachelor of Music (Performance) student, and one of the concert organisers.

“BA Acting students Khai Fong Dmytro Nguien and Kristian Lustre set the scene by sharing the stories of the composers and the inspiration behind their works, and it was performed against a backdrop of visuals, specially created for the concert.”


News from around RCS

Aisha Goodman, second-year BA Acting student, is on the shortlist for the Luke Westlake Scholarship 2023, which will be announced on 11 December at London’s Lyric Hammersmith Theatre.

Now in its fifth year, it’s an annual award set up for actors in second year at drama school or university in the UK.

The winner will receive over £6,000 worth of financial and developmental support as they complete their training and graduate. Good luck, Aisha!

Congratulations to Sam Cleary, fourth-year jazz student, who made the final of BBC Radio Scotland’s Young Jazz Musician.

Sam began teaching himself jazz guitar at the age of 11 by using YouTube tutorials and listening to the family record collection. He studied jazz guitar along with piano and composition at Chetham’s School of Music before joining RCS to study jazz guitar.

Sam has played numerous gigs across Scotland as a member of Tommy Smith’s Youth Jazz Orchestra and performed professionally with many musicians on the Scottish jazz scene.

Last Sunday’s final, at Pacific Quay headquarters, featured a special performance from jazz graduate Ewan Hastie, the winner of the UK-wide BBC Young Jazz Musician of the Year in 2022.

RCS has partnered with Labeaume en Musiques festival in France. Opera students and graduates will participate in next year’s event, held in June, along with students from the Conservatoire de Lyon.

Philippe Forget, the artistic director of Labeaume, conducted RCS’s production of L’etoile in January.

Composition graduates Fergus Hall and Aileen Sweeney were included on the 2024 RPS Composers Programme, which offers a commission, premiere and a year of professional development.

PhD graduate Dr Lisa Robertson was shortlisted for the International Society for Contemporary Music’s World Music Days 2024 Scottish Section.

MMus graduate Ailie Ormston was chosen as an artist-in-residence with the Grammy-nominated JACK Quartet, which champions music by 20th and 21st-century composers.


Performance trips for Transitions

A group of Transitions ‘year of application’ students – who hope to start their undergraduate studies in September next year – enjoyed a trip to see The Wonderful World of Dissocia at RCS recently.They loved the performance and enjoyed discussing it afterwards. The verdict? ‘Hilarious’, ‘Different’, ‘Unexpected’, ‘Fun’ and ‘Amazing’.

Elsewhere, more than thirty Transitions students had a wonderful time listening to a performance from the RCS Chamber Orchestra.

More exciting and varied performance trips are in the pipeline for the Transitions team.

Do you know someone who would like to pursue the performing or production arts? Transitions applications for 2024/25 are open until January 31. The Transitions initiative aims to provide funded training and seeks to help people who would like to study dance, drama, filmmaking, music, music teaching and production.

To be eligible, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • 16+ if interested in either drama, film or production
  • 7+ if interested in music or ballet
  • not completed a higher education programme
  • And are one or more of the following:
  • live in an SIMD1 postcode
  • a care experienced and/or an estranged young person
  • living in an SIMD1 or SIMD2 postcode and living rurally, Black, Indigenous, People of Colour (BIPOC) or a young carer.

Find out more about Transitions and apply


Sustainability update

The Whittaker Library hosted a ‘paperboat yard’ for the writing collective Paperboats earlier this month.

Paperboats is a collective of writers focused on nature and environment ‘in a time of climate and ecological breakdown’ who called upon Scotland’s libraries, schools and community centres to help them take their climate message to the Scottish Parliament.

They asked for participants to make paper boats with ‘messages of hope’ tucked inside to deliver to MSPs of all parties on Thursday 23 November.

Find out more about RCS’s sustainability work on the Green Room. Did you see our ‘roof garden to café’ video on our social channels for World Food Day, following the journey of a turnip from being grown on our roof garden to a tasty pot of soup? If not, watch on our Instagram!


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