Important Information

We are holding free online workshops for anyone interested in this degree programme. Please contact hello@rcs.ac.uk to find out more.

An Overview

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 2022.

In association with:

Print

UK Deadline:

Still open for applications

International Deadline:

Still open for applications

In association with

Solar Bear

Programme Structure

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.

Why choose us?

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is in the World Top 10 for performing arts education 2016, 2017, 2018, 2020, 2021 and 2022 (QS World Rankings)

  • 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 2022)
  • 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

Thinking About Applying?

The BA Performance in BSL and English Department are offering free Zoom workshops for students wishing to apply for next year or for future years. For more information on these and how to join, please contact our team at hello@rcs.ac.uk or via Whatsapp video message on +44 (0) 7961 773 630.


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

Graduate destinations

Jamie Rea

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
  • Scot 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.

Petre Dobre

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 Bryson

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 Webster

 

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 Melvin

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 Raymond

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 McCulloch

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.

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 Campus Built For The Performing Arts

Explore the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in our 360 virtual tour. You’ll be able to see our rehearsal and practice rooms, professional performance venues, production workshops, editing suite, ballet studios and more.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

Admissions process

Our admissions processes are designed to be fair, transparent and efficient. The audition/interview approach serves the dual nature of allowing the panel to assess first-hand an applicant’s suitability for their chosen programme and it also affords the applicant the opportunity to gain a deeper insight into the nature of that programme and the opportunities offered by the RCS.

In arriving at its recommendation, the audition/interview panel will take account of all aspects of the applicant’s profile i.e.:

  • Performance at audition/interview
  • Commitment to the particular programme
  • Potential to benefit from the programme
  • Academic qualifications
  • Personal statement
  • Performance qualifications
  • Performance/practical experience
  • References
  • Contextualised data
Entrance requirements

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. References can be supplied in either English or BSL.

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

We accept students who use BSL and/or English.  Students will be asked to self-assess their level of each language.

For international students we can offer BSL classes in advance of study. For more information please contact our team at hello@rcs.ac.uk or on +44 (0) 7691 773 630.

Direct entry

Applications for direct entry beyond Year 1 will be considered on a case-by-case basis and in accordance with the Royal Conservatoire’s Recognition of Prior (Experiential) Learning policy.

Non-standard entry

We welcome applications from individuals whose academic qualifications or English language qualifications do not match (in terms of equivalence) or fall short of the normal entrance requirements, where specified*. Having satisfied the Audition Panel that they meet the selection criteria and demonstrated that they have the capacity to pursue the proposed course of study, such applicants will be considered through examination of contextualised data provided in accordance with the Non-Standard Entry Policy. The appropriate Head of Department/ Programme will make a case in support of the applicant for consideration by the Directors of the Schools and Convener of the Quality and Standards Committee.

*Note that UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) imposes minimum English Language qualifications in respect of international (non-EU) applicants who require a Tier 4 Visa to study in the UK.

Mature students

RCS welcomes applications from mature students, i.e. students over the age of 21 at entry to the programme. Whilst the selection procedures will still be applied, consideration will be given to appropriate artistic experience not normally expected in school leavers, which is deemed to compensate for any lack of traditional entrance qualifications.

Successful mature applicants, as for all other applicants, must convince 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 support given.

HOW TO APPLY

Apply directly to RCS

Applications are made directly to the Royal Conservatoire. Contact admissions@rcs.ac.uk to receive an application form or you can download an application form.

Once you have submitted your application to RCS, please prepare your Stage 1 audition recording. This recordings need to be submitted by the 28th February 2022. Information on the audition process can be found below.

 

For this, we want you to prepare, rehearse, film and send us videos of two tasks:

1) Acting Task (Monologue)

Acting is about putting yourself in someone else’s situation and imagining what that is like and how you would behave. We want to see you do that. We want you to imagine that you are in a particular situation talking to another (imaginary) person/people for a particular reason. This is called a monologue. It is rehearsed and learned.

You have a choice about how you prepare:

Options (not all!):

  • We have supplied a few monologues (with simple BSL translation). You can use one of these and if you use BSL, you can change the BSL if it doesn’t suit how you express yourself. Please see our document, BA Performance in BSL and English – Scenarios and Monologues, for further information, or watch the video here:
  • There are lots of monologues printed in English. You can use any you like. If you are translating into BSL, we can support this. Get in touch with our Admissions team to organise some time with a lecturer in translation: admissions@rcs.ac.uk.
  • Use a scenario to create your own monologue. You can use your own idea or one of ours. Think about a scenario where a character talks to someone else or needs to express something. What do they want to say? What do they want from the other person? Please see our document, BA Performance in BSL and English – Scenarios and Monologues, for further information.

The following video is one that gives an example of our graduates’ work – one monologue in BSL. This is meant to help give you an idea of what a performed monologue can be: ‘Oppression’ by Brooklyn Melvin.

Important things to remember:

You can only prepare one monologue.

  • Keep it short: 1-3 minutes is fine.
  • Acting is about being honest: we want to see you behaving like a real person.
  • Don’t feel like you have to be very different from yourself – we are interested in you!
  • When you are imagining the situation, think about who you are talking to and why?

 

2) Creative Task (Devising)

Devising is making a piece of performance from your own ideas. We want to see what your ideas are and how you communicate them in a theatrical way (not just talking!).

Your performance should be based on something important to you.

Your ideas could come from something you think about a lot.

The piece you perform could be:

  • A question that’s on your mind
  • related to social issues
  • personal experience

Don’t try to get it right or wrong: it should be something you want to communicate and share. The form of performance it takes is up to you.

It could be:

  • Visual Vernacular (a theatrical art form of physical expression, storytelling with strong sense of body movements, iconic signs, gestures, facial expressions)
  • Text-based
  • Movement
  • Visual Theatre
  • A song
  • A mixture of some of these different styles

Here are some links to a few videos that give examples of our graduates’ work. These are meant to help give you an idea of the kind of thing you could do. Don’t be put off by them and please do not copy these, but take inspiration!

Important things to remember:

  • A short, rehearsed performance with content and form.
  • It should be completely new.
  • Don’t try and do what you think we want – be brave!

Further tips on how to prepare for your recording can be found in our Scenarios and Monologues document.

Upon submitting both your videos via the Acceptd platform, you will be contacted by our Admissions team with full details of the Stage 2 audition round. More details on how to submit via Acceptd can be found below:

View our BA Performance in British Sign Language & English Guide for Applicants.

Application fees

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 – please contact finance@rcs.ac.uk for bank transfer details.

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is committed to ensuring fair access to a conservatoire education for students who have the talent and potential to benefit from it, regardless of their background. In support of this, audition fee waivers are offered to applicants whom financial hardship may be a barrier to auditioning.

Learn more about how to apply for a fee waiver on our policy here, and the form itself in BSL here.


References

 You must ask two separate referees to supply references and ensure that these are sent to the Conservatoire.  References can be supplied in either written English or BSL.

The references must come from 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: references@rcs.ac.uk.

Recall Auditions

Following submitting your audition recordings, you may be invited to a recall audition day. These recalls will happen throughout April 2022. This will involve group workshops led by staff from the programme and an interview which could happen either online or in-person dependent on your location and preference. We may ask you to perform your Acting/and or Devised piece (the piece you recorded) live and we might re-work it with you. You will also have the opportunity to ask any questions about studying and life at the Conservatoire.

Questions?

If you have any questions about applying to this programme, the audition process, or if you need help completing your application, please contact our team at hello@rcs.ac.uk or on +44 (0) 7961 773 630 – you can also video message us through WhatsApp.

To make an appointment for a video call with the departmental team, please email Head of Programme Claire Lamont at c.lamont@rcs.ac.uk.

Policy

We have a number of policies and statements which you should read when applying to study at the Royal Conservatoire.

Please select the links below to read each policy.

Fees and scholarship

Information for Scottish students

The Stud