The BA Performance in British Sign Language and English is an undergraduate degree that teaches students to be both actors and makers of work.
If you identify as D/deaf or hard of hearing, and want to perform or create work on stage and screen, we want to meet you.
You should be keen, curious and ready to work. Our students use BSL and/or spoken English. It is your choice. We look at how to create performance through both of these languages.
Choose to study with us and be part of a unique programme which is breaking down barriers in the industry and opening up theatre to new audiences. You are welcome to come and meet the team and observe our classes in advance of applying.
During the three year programme, you will benefit from the distinctive environment of RCS and study a rich blend of performance modules.
This course is designed around the learning and teaching needs of deaf performers and is the only course of its kind in Europe. The programme has been developed in association with Solar Bear Theatre Company with input from a range of theatre, education and deaf professionals.
The working languages of the programme are British Sign Language (BSL) and spoken English. You will have fully-qualified BSL interpreters in class and in rehearsal.
The small class size ensures you will have the opportunity to work closely with our teaching staff and visiting professionals. You will also benefit from our many collaborative and professional partnerships including Solar Bear and National Theatre of Scotland.
You will develop skills in acting, movement, dance, signing on stage, improvisation and puppetry as well as explore highly visual and physical performance styles.
We will teach you the skills you need to prepare you for a career in film, television, theatre and more.
The programme only recruits for students every 3 years and the next cohort is due to start in September 2021.
Interested in this course?
If you would like to get more of an insight into this course, we are running an audition preparation course:
Keep up to date with the BA Performance course on their Facebook page.
You can also get in touch with Head of BA Performance, Claire Lamont, with any questions you have about the programme.
In association with:
The course will be delivered by D/deaf and hearing tutors and will be fully supported by a dedicated team of BSL/English interpreters.
This is a foundation year where you learn skills.
You study acting — exploring character and situation. You also develop your understanding of acting for camera. Devising classes teach you how to make original theatre based on your own ideas. In the register and text module you learn to develop your signing and/or vocal skills. Movement classes develop an understanding of how you use your body in an expressive and creative manner. Visual theatre classes explore a range of performance ideas from a D/deaf perspective.
You will also have an opportunity to collaborate with students from across the conservatoire
This is a project-based year where you apply your skills in public performance. The first performance is script-based and allows you to develop your acting skills through a full rehearsal and production process. The Outreach module gives students the opportunity to create and deliver workshops to schools and community groups.
The On the Verge festival is a chance to create and perform your own pieces of devised work. In Script to Screen, you learn to generate and write ideas for short films to be made in your final year. Second year is also the beginning of Professional Preparation classes which start to get you thinking about working in the industry after graduation.
In your final year you will put the two strands of acting and performance-making together. The curriculum includes three public performances, one of which will be a touring co-production with an industry partner and also a professional showcase to agents and casting directors. You will use your skills to create innovative performances across our two working languages. Also, students’ short films are developed, filmed and screened.
We also encourage students to work professionally where invited to do so. You will continue to develop your professional practice, employability and business skills so that, when you graduate, you are well equipped to manage your career as a professional performer.
- The only degree of its kind in Europe
- Learn in one of the world’s top 10 performing arts education institutions (QS World University Rankings 2020)
- Excellent staff-student ratio
- Small class sizes means more personalised support
- The majority of core staff on the programme use BSL
- There are interpreters provided in every class
- Work with students from across the different courses in RCS
- Professional connections including National Theatre of Scotland, BBC, Glasgow Film Theatre and Playwrights’ Studio Scotland
- Industry showcases in both Glasgow and London
- 80% of graduates in 2018 went straight into professional work upon graduation
- Jenny Sealey MBE is the programme patron
Claire Lamont – Head of BA Performance in British Sign Language and English
Mark Stevenson – Lecturer (Acting)
Ramesh Meyyappan – Lecturer (Visual Theatre)
Melanie Drake – Lecturer (Register and Text)
Rita McDade – Lecturer (Register and Text)
Tim Licata – Lecturer (Movement)
Visiting Artists and Masterclasses
- Jenny Sealey
- Mark Murphy
- Paula Garfield
- Davey Anderson
- Ann Marie Di Mambro
- Lesley Adam
- Viv Adam
- Michael Duke
- Ruxy Cantir
- Gavin Glover
- Lewis Hetherington
- Jen Bates
- Alan McKendrick
- Chisato Minamimura
- Lee Saczak
- Al Seed
- Joan Cleville
RCS is one of the busiest performance venues in Scotland and has five professional venues on campus for student performances.
As a student within the School of Drama, you will have access to drama rehearsal rooms, dance studios, an IT suite and one of the largest performing arts libraries in the world, the Whittaker Library.
You will also work closely with the Centre for Voice in Performance through the module Register and Text specifically designed to look at the range and register available in both BSL and English.
- Student Showcase Modal Controls:
- Student Showcase Modal Controls:
- Student Showcase Modal Controls:
The goal of BA Performance in BSL and English is to prepare you to be a working professional. Our first cohort of students graduated in 2018 and have been employed in various roles throughout the industry.
A short summary of some of their recent work is listed here.
Jamie has performed in:
- Deafinitely Theatre’s recent production of Sarah Kane’s 4:48 Psychosis
- Summit created by Andy Smith of Fuel theatre: UK tour and Edinburgh International Festival
- Beats Per Minute directed by Cora Bisset, as part of the Glasgow Games
- Scott Squad directed by Noddy Davidson, BBC
Jamie has also worked as a BSL consultant and created promotional materials for various theatre companies.
Moira Anne MacAuslan
Moira has recently finished a tour of Ad Infinitum’s Extraordinary Wall of Silence and before that she toured with Solar Bear’s The Arrival.
In 2019, she performed a BSL version of The Long View in front of HRH The Queen to commemorate 20 years of the Scottish Parliament.
She was also invited to deliver a Tedx Talk at the University of Strathclyde called ‘My Journey’.
Moira has also delivered workshops at schools and through NHS Glasgow.
Directly after graduation, Petre took up a year-long placement at the MacRobert Arts Centre in Stirling as the first ever BSL Director trainee. Here he developed his own craft, delivered workshops to the local community and advised the theatre sector on working with deaf artists.
At the MacRobert, Petre created two pieces of visual/physical theatre, 9/11 and Heartsore. With funding from Creative Scotland, he has recently been working on a piece of theatre for children called Squirrel.
Connor has performed in a mixture of theatre, film and TV.
On screen he has appeared in the BBC’s Casualty and feature film, The Last Bus, directed by Gillies MacKinnon.
On stage, Connor worked on a UK tour of Yellow is the Colour of Sunshine, and Cinderella at the Cast Theatre, Doncaster.
Connor has also worked as a BSL advisor for BBC’s Two Doors Down and as Assistant Director on Solar Bear’s The Arrival.
Bea recently began an 18-month contract with the RSC, cast as Emilia in The Winter’s Tale. Unfortunately due to Covid19, this production has been put on hold.
Bea has performed in:
- Peeling by Taking Flight Theatre Company
- Mother Courage and Her Children as Kattrin by Red Ladder Theatre Company
Bea was nominated for Best Actress in a Play at the Stage Debut Awards 2019.
Bea has worked as a BSL advisor on the TV series, Outlander.
She is also one of Playwrights’ Studio Scotland’s mentored playwrights for 2020.
Brooklyn recently starred in Oliver Twist in the title role in a Leeds Playhouse/Ramps on the Moon co-production.
She was involved in research and development of Macbeth with Deafinitely Theatre at the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Brooklyn also leads on the delivery of Deaf Youth Theatre workshops with Solar Bear
EJ has performed in:
- My Mother Said I Never Should for Fingersmiths Theatre Company at Sheffield Crucible and UK tour
- The House of Bernarda Alba, directed by Jenny Sealey at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester
- Block, directed by Toby Hulse at the Oxford Playhouse
- Blood Wedding, a co-production between Graeae and Dundee Rep
EJ has recently worked with playwright Michael Duke on an upcoming piece, Irene Barr.
She has written and directed various short films and through her own company, Turtlear, promotes deaf arts and awareness.
Craig has recently worked with Solar Bear on a number of pieces of work.
He toured ‘The Happiness Project’ to schools and communities and before that performed in their adaptation of Shaun Tan’s The Arrival.
Two of Craig’s recent projects were affected by the Coronavirus outbreak:
He had been due to appear as a BSL performer as part of the RCS Masters’ programme production of Twelfth Night.
He was also working as Assistant Director on the National Theatre of Scotland’s Ferry Tales.
Ciaran Alexander Stewart
Ciaran had a recurring role in the first series of UKTV production Traces which aired on Alibi.
On stage, Ciaran has performed in:
- Pop Music by Anna Jordan, a co-production between Paines Plough and Birmingham Repertory Theatre
- Junkyard, written by Jack Thorne, a UK tour by Headlong Theatre Company
- Tribes, written by Nina Raine at the Sheffield Crucible
Dr Johnstone Goes to Scotland, as part of the Play, Pie & Pint series at Oran Mor and Traverse Theatre.
Tuition fees for academic year 2021-22
- Scottish Students – £1,820
- Rest of UK (RUK) Students – £9,250
- International Students (Including EU) – £18,393
From the next academic year (21/22) all EU students commencing study in Scotland will pay fees at the International rate.
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 the SAAS 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.
The Royal Conservatoire is resolutely international in outlook and we celebrate and are enriched by the diversity of our community of students and staff. Students from across the globe are -welcome and valued members of the RCS community and we continue to welcome applicants from across the EU and throughout the world.
Q: What is the fee situation for EU students?
A: On July 92020, Scotland’s Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, Richard Lochhead announced changes to the fee regime for EU students studying in Scotland. From next academic year (21/22) all EU students commencing study in Scotland will pay fees at the International rate.
Q: I’m an EU student looking to start my studies in 2021-22. How does this impact me?
A: From next academic year (21/22) all EU students commencing study in Scotland will pay fees at the International rate.
Only EU nationals who are ‘settled’ or ‘pre-settled’ in the UK will remain eligible to apply for home tuition fees providing they meet the residency conditions.
Other EU nationals and associated groups, starting a course of study in academic year 2021-22 or later, are not eligible to apply to SAAS for tuition fee support.
Because of a long-standing agreement between the UK and Republic of Ireland, new students from the Republic of Ireland starting their studies in 2021-22 will be eligible to pay the rest of UK (RUK) fee and will be able to access a tuition fee loan from SAAS.
Please also see the SAAS website for more information.
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 on our Fees and Funding page.
Sources of external funding
For more information about alternative funding sources, including external scholarships and bursaries, please visit Fees and Funding.
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.
Cost of Living and Associated Programme Costs
Investing in your future is important and you need to consider the cost of your tuition as well as the cost of living during your studies. In addition to tuition fees, it is estimated that you will need between £10,000 and £12,000 per year to live in Glasgow, plus programme costs. Associated programme costs can be found here.
There are no formal academic entrance requirements for this programme. Applicants will be asked to:
- self-assess their language competency at point of application using the European Common Framework of Reference (ECFR);
- compose a personal statement explaining their background, motivation and experience either in written English or filmed BSL;
- supply references
All applicants must show auditioning panels that they have the ability and potential to cope with the demands of the Programme. Their progress, especially in the early stages of the Programme, will be closely monitored and appropriate advice and help given.
Language of Study
D/deaf and hard of hearing candidates with Sign Language other than BSL can and are encouraged to audition, but you will be required to commit to learning British Sign Language should you be offered a place on the programme.
The language of study is British Sign Language (BSL) or English if preferred to be spoken.
All applicants will be asked to state if their first language is BSL or English as part of the application.
You will be asked to evaluate your language levels in both BSL and English as part of the application form against the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. This will be evaluated further by the audition/interview panel.
Once you have submitted your application please prepare your Stage 1 audition recording as detailed below. Upon submitting this via the Acceptd platform, you will be contacted by our Admissions team with full details of the Stage 2 audition round.
There is an audition fee of £55. Fees are not refundable. Fees can be paid directly to the Royal Conservatoire by phoning 0141 270 8233 or paid directly to the Finance office.
You must ask two separate referees to write references and ensure that these are sent to the Conservatoire. The references must be written by two different people and we will not accept references from family, other relatives or close friends. Please send the forms to your referees to complete and return to RCS either via post: Admissions Office, RCS, 100 Renfrew Street, Glasgow, G2 3DB or via e-mail: email@example.com.
There are two stages to the audition process.
Stage 1: you are required to prepare, rehearse, film and send us videos of two tasks. Full details of these can be found in these documents: The Audition Process and Scenarios & Monologues. Please upload your audition recordings to Acceptd . These needn’t be submitted at the same time as your application. If you would like to attend the audition preparation weekend on 20/21 February, to gain further support and guidance on this process, you can submit your recordings following this.
Stage 2: involves an audition day. Due to the safety of students, applicants and staff, we will not be holding in-person auditions this year. We will be in touch with applicants with further information about their audition day which will now take place online.
A full guide on how to use Acceptd can be found here:
If you have any questions about applying to this programme, the audition process, or if you need help completing your application, we are offering ‘Open Door’ sessions on Mondays between 4-5pm. This means you can email in advance to organise a video call on any Monday during term time and can speak directly to one of the staff team.
To make an appointment, please email Head of Programme Claire Lamont – firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any general queries relating to the application process (e.g. to request an application pack, enquire about accommodation, etc) please email email@example.com at any time.