Where are you?
I am in the Southside of Glasgow in Shawlands.
Current work wear of choice?
Well, I am quite lucky as I have had a few periods of remote working over the years so have invested in some quality gear. I have a pair of posh White Company joggers I can feasibly wear for my government-sanctioned hour of exercise without shaming myself, but I also have an impressive collection of be-bobbled jumpers, baggy-kneed leggings and misshapen free charity t-shirts for when it’s just me at home.
My slippers picked the very worst time to fall apart so I had to buy a new pair. They are pink and furry and look like I have skinned a Muppet, but I love them! They brighten up even the most coffee-stained lounging outfit.
What’s on your reading list right now?
Well, seeing as you ask, I have just started an RCS External Relations book club and we have chosen our first book, which is Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. It was chosen by Development Assistant Rachel Walker who knows a LOT about books. I also have a few others lined up such as Wakenhyrst by Michelle Paver and Tin Man by Sarah Winman.
What are you watching/listening to online?
I love audiobooks, podcasts and radio plays; perfect things to calm oneself down in these strange times! I am a big fan of Agatha Christie and you can find some books that were adapted into BBC radio plays in the 80s on YouTube and various podcast players such as Podbean. I also like You’re Dead to Me, which takes a light-hearted look at figures and periods from history. In terms of music, I love a good playlist and now I’m working at home have the luxury of listening to Spotify every day!
How long have you been at RCS and what drew you here?
I’ve been here 18 months. I moved back to Scotland after almost 20 years away, with most of those years working in fundraising and development. I’ve been in lots of different organisations and was keen to use my skills to help a cause that I felt important but in a role that was also interesting and fun. The role of Head of Fundraising at RCS came up and it was perfect timing! I am not a performer myself but love the performing arts so was delighted to get the job.
What do you love most about your role?
I love how varied it is. I speak to lots of different people, most of whom love music or dance, musical theatre or film. It’s always amazing showing people around as they’re stunned when they see fully functioning theatres within the unprepossessing faÃ§ade of 100 Renfrew Street.
I love taking them to Speirs Locks so they can see our props and costumes and huge backdrops taking shape. I also enjoy working with colleagues to think about how best to support our students, coming up with ideas and projects and then looking for people and organisations to fund them.
What drives and inspires you?
Lots of things! Fundraising isn’t an easy job even in the best of times, there are more rejections than anything else and you have to just keep going; if you didn’t truly believe in the worth of the people and projects you were supporting, it would be impossible. I am motivated by bringing together people who love the arts with performers who need great facilities, excellent teaching and a bit of financial support.
Describe a typical day?
It can change so much. I often have meetings with donors or people interested in supporting us. I also work on proposals for projects and then with colleagues in ensuring that some of the projects we already have funding for, are running smoothly. I am lucky in that I have a great team and we do a lot of chatting throughout the day!
What sparked your love of the arts?
I’ve always loved music and dance. I have three older brothers and parents who all love music so grew up listening to everything from Frank Sinatra and Led Zeppelin to The Beatles and The Smiths. I also started ballet when I was three and loved it, studying until I was about 14.
I still sing in choirs and one of my greatest regrets is that I didn’t stick in at the violin. I gave it up when reading music became too hard (my parents were uncharacteristically relaxed about me packing it in, so I can only imagine how awful I was) so I am in awe of our music students in particular.
Your most memorable RCS moment?
There have been lots, even though I have only been here for 18 months. I loved Les Mamelles de Tirésias by Francis Poulenc (pictured above) mainly because it was just so utterly bonkers with such wonderful set design. I also really enjoyed watching some of our BA Modern Ballet students accompanied by our brass students doing scenes from The Nutcracker in the ballroom at Gleneagles (below). What an absolute treat.
Describe RCS in three words?
Inspiring, fun, impressive.
Read more about the impact of fundraising at RCS in Review magazine
We are in unprecedented times and coming together as a community and supporting each other has never been more important. Here at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, we firmly believe that the performing arts have the ability to bring people together, spread joy and heal the deepest divisions; our work and that of our staff and students has never been so vital.
But we are facing an uncertain future and can only continue to play our part in providing first class arts education and performance with the help of our valued supporters and friends. If you can, please donate; you can become a Company of Donors member from just £4 a month.
If you would like to talk to a member of our Development Team about donating, please contact Head of Fundraising, Julie Reynolds on firstname.lastname@example.org
We believe firmly that once the worst of this situation is over, the hope and joy offered by the performing arts throughout the world will be in more demand than ever.
Every donation RCS receives goes to enhancing the student experience. Whether it’s through a tuition-fee scholarship, support to purchase instruments or creating improved facilities and resources for student use every penny donated supports the next generation of artists studying here in Glasgow.
Visit our development page to find out more about the ways in which you can support RCS.