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BA Musical Theatre

Introduction

The BA Musical Theatre programme at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland offers practical, high level vocational education for exceptionally talented students who are dedicated to becoming highly skilled and employable professional artists. We are unique because we offer a quadruple-threat, conservatoire-level tuition in acting, singing, dance and music.

We offer an extraordinary combination of world class facilities, professional connections, and opportunities for collaboration, at a level and intensity that’s not available elsewhere. We keep all class sizes small so every student is nurtured and advanced through individual teaching and mentoring. You will train as a truly multi-disciplinary artist, so you will need to demonstrate high-level acting, singing, and dance ability, as well as additional instrumental skills. You will be very open to new ideas, ways of learning, and collaboration.

You need to be eager to perform, ambitious, intellectually agile, and a fantastic communicator with a story to tell. You will spend time working with directors and writers on new musical theatre, as well as traditional and contemporary productions. You’re also likely to find yourself working in professional venues and rehearsal spaces, and we try and give you as many opportunities as possible to engage with the industry. In your final year you’ll present an industry showcase in Glasgow and London, and (by audition) for our North American students, in New York city.

You will work regularly with students from across RCS; our music students form the orchestra of all of our major shows, production students provide the off-stage and backstage support, and, as well as filming with our film students in our studios and on location, you may find yourself on BBC production sets, with guidance and support from BBC Scotland.

Introduction

The BA Musical Theatre programme at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland offers practical, high level vocational education for exceptionally talented students who are dedicated to becoming highly skilled and employable professional artists. We are unique because we offer a quadruple-threat, conservatoire-level tuition in acting, singing, dance and music.

We offer an extraordinary combination of world class facilities, professional connections, and opportunities for collaboration, at a level and intensity that’s not available elsewhere. We keep all class sizes small so every student is nurtured and advanced through individual teaching and mentoring. You will train as a truly multi-disciplinary artist, so you will need to demonstrate high-level acting, singing, and dance ability, as well as additional instrumental skills. You will be very open to new ideas, ways of learning, and collaboration.

You need to be eager to perform, ambitious, intellectually agile, and a fantastic communicator with a story to tell. You will spend time working with directors and writers on new musical theatre, as well as traditional and contemporary productions. You’re also likely to find yourself working in professional venues and rehearsal spaces, and we try and give you as many opportunities as possible to engage with the industry. In your final year you’ll present an industry showcase in Glasgow and London, and (by audition) for our North American students, in New York city.

You will work regularly with students from across RCS; our music students form the orchestra of all of our major shows, production students provide the off-stage and backstage support, and, as well as filming with our film students in our studios and on location, you may find yourself on BBC production sets, with guidance and support from BBC Scotland.

Programme structure

Year 1 – Focus on skill development

Your contact and independent study time feature core practical skills in acting, music, dance and voice. Each core skill involves various forms i.e. Music content includes Choir, Theory, 1to1 instrumental studies, piano lab.

Underpinning this is a strong focus on your professional practice with theory, research, reflection, professional Development Planning, song & monologue portfolio development, personal marketing, collaborative practice and performance classes. This is effectively your fifth discipline.

In Year 1 collaboration is a key component and you will be involved in a unique cross conservatoire module which gives you the opportunity to work closely with students from across RCSc to develop practical collaborative skills.

You will be assessed for each core module, in both continuous process and exam/submission formats. There will be written submissions for the more theory-based subject areas and exams for more performance-based skill areas.

Year 2 – Focus on synthesis & Performance Process

Core skills classes and professional practice modules continue to support new learning areas and project work including collaborative instrumental labs, songwriting, producing, budgeting, acting for media, musical theatre scenes and an opportunity for public performances of devised musical theatre work. You will also have the opportunity to expand your learning via options modules offered across RCS.

Year 3 – Focus on Performance and Professional Practice

The final year concentrates on developing your performance experience, profile, marketing, audition techniques and industry connections. Skills classes augment dedicated rehearsal process for two main stage musicals (book and contemporary). You have the opportunity for an elective choice in actor musicianship performance or other choice elements. Professional practice modules continue to underpin your learning, with a strong emphasis on employment skills.

Keep up to date with the Musical Theatre course on Twitter and Instagram.

Staff and masterclasses

Through your studies at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland you will receive support and guidance from varying staff, external specialists and industry professionals. The staff tutors and their team will manage your day-to-day skills base development while external directors and musical directors will work with you in performance classes and project work. Each student will also meet many visiting practitioners in order to support network opportunities and contacts with industry professionals.

Faculty Staff

Andrew Panton – Artistic Director of Musical Theatre

Michael Howell – Head of Musical Theatre

Erin Carter – Lecturer Musical Theatre

David Higham – Lecturer Musical Theatre / Music

Eve Jamieson – Lecturer Musical Theatre / Acting

Singing Staff

Gordon Adams

Susie Dumbreck

Scott Harrison

Michael Howell

Caroline Hurst

Marjory Watson

Dance Staff

Steinvor Palsson

Lynne Bustard

Freya Jeffs

Preston Clare

Rowan Macgregor

Voice Staff

Jean Sangster

Hilary Jones

Bill Wright

Mel Drake

Music Staff

Matthew Brown

Ellie Steemson

Stuart Fleming

Richard Lewis

Oliver Searle

Visiting Industry Professionals

  • Ken Alexander
  • Gordon Barr
  • John Barrowman
  • Simon Beck
  • James Brining
  • Andy Charles
  • Ali Craig
  • Joe Douglas
  • Barbara Dickson
  • David Grindrod
  • Dominic Hill
  • Philip Howard
  • Dougie Irvine
  • Jemima Levick
  • Matthew Malthouse
  • David Marsden
  • Pete Woollard

Why choose us?

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is third in the world for performing arts education.

  • Industry showcases in Glasgow, London and New York
  • Excellent industry connections
  • Excellent staff-student ratio
  • 100% of graduates are in employment or further study (HESA, 2014/15)
  • Experienced staff who have worked and are still working as; directors, choreographers, composers and performers in London’s West End, regional theatre, film and television
  • The opportunity to fully explore your creative skills – students have had the opportunity to take on roles as musical directors and directors for external corporate work; assisted guest creatives on Edinburgh Festival Fringe productions; presented their own song or composition material, and produced their own work at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

How to apply

Applications for the BA Musical Theatre should be made through the UCAS Conservatoires website. There is a UCAS application fee of £25 (which is in addition to the audition fee) which allows you up to six choices of programme of study.

For more information on how to apply, please visit the Apply section.

Before applying we recommend that you read the Guide for Applicants which provides information regarding entry requirements, and the full application and audition process.

Begin your Applicant Journey here.

Student showcase

BA Musical Theatre - Class of 2017

Max Alexander-Taylor

Casey Anne Apregan

Ross Baxter

Louise Duff

Grace Galloway

Felicia Gray

Pia Hagen

Emma Harding

Meg Forgan

Cerys Lee-Jones

Sarah Michelle Kelly

Edward August

Luke Hickman

Chiara Sparkes

Bethany Tennick

Lydia White

Callum Marshall

Charlie McCullagh

Student showcase

Entry requirements

  • Scottish Highers – 3 passes (grade C or above)
  • A Levels – 2 passes
  • International Baccalaureate – minimum score of 24 with 3 subjects at Higher Level

We offer a flexible approach to students taking Highers over more than one academic year and/or who achieve their qualifications in more than one sitting.

Entrance to the Conservatoire is based on talent, potential and ability, therefore consideration will be given to relevant experience which is deemed to compensate for any traditional education. We accept a wide range of qualification, including international qualifications. If you wish to check the suitability of your qualification/experience, please contact us ( admissions@rcs.ac.uk ).

English Language

The language of study is English. Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of proficiency in English. We accept the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

Other equivalent English Language qualifications may be considered, please contact us (admissions@rcs.ac.uk ) for more information.

  • IELTS – 7.5 with a minimum score of 7.5 in speaking

Audition Requirements

Audition requirements can be found in the Undergraduate Drama Dance Production and Screen Guide for Applicants on the following website

Fees & scholarships

Tuition fees for academic year 2017-18

  • Scottish/EU Students – £1,820
  • Rest of UK (RUK) Students – £9,250
  • International (Non EU) – £15,513

Scottish/EU students

The Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) will pay tuition fees for all eligible full-time Scottish-based and other non-UK undergraduate EU students, who are studying in Scotland at degree level for the first time. Students should apply to SAAS for payment of tuition fees even if they are not applying for any other means of support. Eligible students can also apply for student loans through SAAS . For further advice and to check eligibility contact SAAS directly on 0300 555 0505 or visit their website .

Rest of UK students

Students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland studying in Scotland will be eligible for the same funding/loan package that they would benefit from if they attended an institution in their home country. For further advice please visit student finance England , student financeWales , or student finance Northern Ireland as appropriate.

International students

Students from outside the EU typically fund higher education by a variety of resources, depending on the home country. More specific information on funding options relevant to specific countries can be found here .

Scholarships

Any potential student who auditions for a place at the Royal Conservatoire will automatically be considered for a scholarship. They are awarded on a combination of talent, potential and financial need. More information about Scholarships is available here

Sources of external funding

For more information about alternative funding sources, including external scholarships and bursaries, please visit here.

The Conservatoire’s International and Student Experience team are available to advise and assist applicants and current students in respect of queries about funding your studies at the Conservatoire. Please email or telephone +44 (0)141 270 8281/ +44 (0)141 270 8223 for further information.

Graduate destinations

Graduates are working in London’s West End, regional theatres, film and television productions and with major companies including the National Theatre of Scotland, Citizens Theatre, Dundee Rep and the BBC. Following showcase, the majority of our students are signed immediately by agents from the UK and overseas.

You may have seen our recent graduates perform in: Avenue Q (national tour), War Horse (national tour), 39 Steps (West End), Once (West End), Aladdin (West End), Blood Brothers (national tour), Wicked (West End), Spiderman (Broadway) and Let the Right One In (New York), Sister Act (national tour), The James Plays (international tour).

You might recognise names such as:

  • Andrew FraserBlackwatch (National Theatre of Scotland)
  • Scott Gilmour – Actor & Co-director of Noisemaker Productions
  • Sophie ReidOnce (West End), Game of Thrones
  • Lawrence RobbMojo (West End)
  • Craig SandersonCarnaby Street (UK Tour)

Testimonials

Scott Gilmour – Actor & Co-director of Noisemaker Productions

“I began my training in 2009 as part of the first intake of students on the BA Musical Theatre programme.

As a student, RCS provides exceptional training, resources and guidance but, above that, it grants opportunity and freedom to forge a path of your own when you come to graduate. It’s this factor that made my training so integral to the career I have today.

Since leaving RCS, I have worked as an actor across the UK with companies such as National Theatre of Scotland, The Roundhouse, The Royal Lyceum, Oran Mor, Splendid Productions and Chichester Festival Theatre.

In my final year, I began writing with composer Claire McKenzie. Our first piece, FreakShow, was developed through RCS and The Arches and went on to win the Scottish Daily Mail Drama Award 2013. Claire and I formed new writing company, Noisemaker, and have continued to create our own work, including Forest Boy (winner of the S&S Award for Best New Musical).

As a student, I was allowed to develop as an actor, and as a writer, and now that is what I do.

RCS supports its students and graduates alike and I am grateful to the time I spent here. It encourages you to hone strengths and challenge weaknesses, develop versatility and, ultimately, that you will never stop learning to grow as an artist.”

Andrew Fraser – Actor

“I trained at RCS from 2009-2012 and was privileged to be part of the first BA Musical Theatre programme. I chose RCS as my place of study because of the passion of the tutors, the time and energy that was given to each of us as individuals and the encouragement given to create, discover and enhance our full self as performers and actors.

Since my graduation my work includes: Touring Britain, America and Asia with the National Theatre of Scotland’s Black Watch; various workshops with National Theatre Scotland; Oran Mor’s Play pie and a Pint; and The Macrobert Theatre company.

RCS provides students with a safe, constructive and encouraging environment. Which enabled me to work on the attributes I already had and encouraged me to discover and play with new ideas and ways of working. Then apply these new skills to my work, in order to build a set which served me in great stead moving into the professional world.

As actors, we never stop learning, but RCS provided me with three years of variety, of growth and of challenges, which gave me time to develop and create a strong foundation, that is mouldable and adaptable to all jobs and lets me keep on learning without taking a step back.”

Sophie Reid – Actor

“I am a very greedy creative and I have always known that I wanted to work in as many areas of the industry as possible. This is what appealed to me about RCS. To be in a place where all artistry is represented and where collaboration and individuality is encouraged and nurtured is a very special thing and something I feel very grateful to have been a part of. From day one we were told this was not a “break you down to build you up experience” but a place to build and develop what you already have and extend it! I am happy to say that my creative greed is being satisfied as a result. I am now working in TV/Film: Gary: Tank Commander, Game of Thrones, I also regularly gig with my own music and am working on an EP. I am currently First Cover to ‘Girl’ in the West End actor/musician musical Once. I am very ambitious and RCS has played a huge hand in fueling the confidence I needed to believe that such ambition is possible, not to mention completely achievable.”

Lawrence Robb – Actor

“My story with RCS began in 2009 where myself and thirteen others, were part of the first cohort of the new BA Musical Theatre program.

RCS provides some of the best training you can find world-wide, its resources and lecturers are at the top of their game and as a young professional it is a flawless sanctuary to prepare you for the outside world in whatever path you choose. You are taught to hone your skills in a beautiful city whilst having the freedom and explore on your own, becoming whatever you want to be during your program. All this has been fundamental in getting me where I am today.

Since leaving I have worked as both as an actor and a singer working with companies such as the National Theatre of Scotland and Sonia Friedman Productions working in venues varying from Stirling Castle to The Harold Pinter Theatre in London.

I was fortunate enough to perform with Rod Stewart featuring Michael Bublé at his Christmas Show in 2012, months after graduating. I had been fortunate on acquiring representation from a well established and influential agent and so meetings on exciting projects were common. In July 2013 I acquired my first professional job and West End debut in the Harold Pinter Theatre; a revival of Jez Butterworth’s hugely acclaimed and first piece Mojo in a cast that no recent graduate should be allowed to say they have worked with. Working with a director like Ian Rickson and a cast with Rupert Grint, Ben Whishaw and Colin Morgan (also an RCS graduate), my training in everything from professional etiquette to how a rehearsal space is run would have been significantly harder to achieve had it not been for my time at RCS. It allowed me to develop my skills as an actor with the added benefit of singing and dance which is essentially what I do in my professional life now.

The support throughout my last couple of years was priceless. RCS is like no other place you will study at, and you will be treated like the young professional you deserve to be. You will make life-long friends and keep artistic contacts long after you graduate. You will flourish, encouraged by world acclaimed tutors allowing you to sharpen strengths, confront weaknesses, making you the best you can possibly be upon graduation. It may be the best thing you ever do.”

Facilities

Classes take place across the two campuses of Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. During the programme students can expect to work in all four of our performance spaces – Athenaeum Theatre, Stevenson Concert Hall, Chandler Studio and Alexander Gibson Opera Studio. Core classes take place in our purpose built dance studios and drama/voice rooms at either Renfrew Street or The Wallace Studios at Speirs Locks. Research, reflective practice and professional practice subjects are taught in a fully equipped student IT suite and supported by a vast array of reference material, sheet music and CD/DVDs in our RCS library.

The Wallace Studios have recently been developed to include 8 purpose built multi functional dance and rehearsal spaces and the programme will utilise these for all major productions – allowing a fully integrated professional rehearsal process with onsite production and technical team involvement.

External venues used by the programme have included Oran Mor, Cottiers Theatre, Tron Theatre, The Arches and Scottish Youth Theatre.

Students have successfully auditioned for and worked with Dundee Theatre, Macrobert Arts Centre and The Citizens Theatre as part of their student placement programmes.

Images and videos

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

 

Chess

Brigadoon

Cabaret

Auditions

Preparing for an audition

The audition process is separated into four sections which explore skills in acting, singing, dance and musicality. Each skill is equally important and we look for a strong ability in three and trainable potential in all four. The panel will look for evidence of emotional connection and clarity of expression in all four disciplines.

Dance

You will be led through a group dance audition, which may include elements of jazz, ballet and contemporary styles.

The panel will look out for:

  • the ability to use the body as a means of expression
  • evidence of technique, style and the physical fitness to cope with the intensive demands of the programme
  • the ability to communicate with the teacher/choreographer and other members of the group and to synthesise and recreate choreography

Singing

Three songs should be prepared for your audition and one of which should not be from a musical (this could be pop, rock, blues, gospel, folk etc). The songs should show your vocal range and the awareness and ability to use contrasting stylistic features common to Musical Theatre repertoire.

During this session the panel will look for:

  • evidence of vocal technique and the ability to make style choices appropriate to musical theatre repertoire
  • the ability to communicate intention, emotion and character through song
  • vocal flexibility, intonation, pitch and musicality

Acting

One Shakespeare monologue and one contemporary monologue that are no longer than two minutes in length should be prepared. Learn them carefully and have an understanding of the entire play as the panel may ask you to talk about your choices.

The panel will look out for:

  • the ability to bring a character to life with believable thoughts, feelings and actions which are appropriate to the text chosen
  • the ability to connect emotionally with a text
  • the ability to engage an audience through verbal and non-verbal communication

Music

You should bring an instrument to the audition (this cannot be voice).

If you play an instrument, you should prepare a short piece or section of music (no more than two minutes) demonstrating your musicality.

If you do not play an instrument please be prepared to talk about any experiences you have had with music and how this influences your choices as an actor, singer and dancer. You will only be asked to perform this if you reach recall stage.

The panel will look for:

  • the ability to discuss your work giving reasons for choices made
  • an ability to respond positively to re-direction
  • an openness to others, responding creatively to their ideas, thoughts and feelings
  • knowledge of the theatre, television, film and music industries
  • experience in public performances evidence of the resilience and commitment necessary for successful completion of the programme and entry into the profession

For more details on the audition process, please read our Guide for Applicants.