An Overview

Production consists of both the BA Production Technology and Management and the BA Production Arts and Design programmes. Production students will work very closely with each other in the classroom and on RCS productions.

This is the only conservatoire-based technical theatre degree in Scotland. Through the programme we aim to produce production technicians, stage managers and lighting designers who can turn their hands to any related role, making them employable in a range of contexts, whilst also being specialists in career pathways, i.e. stage management, stage technology, sound design, sound engineering, lighting technology and lighting design.

We’ll help you to create your own pathway through the programme, focusing on your areas of interest. You will learn to work creatively, as an individual artist, as part of a production team and in collaboration with other students of all disciplines.

RCS is a major public performance venue with world-class facilities. The combination of professional venues, extensive workshops, construction spaces, design studios, and the latest stage and workshop technologies provide a fantastic learning environment.

We work closely with industry to ensure our curriculum is current, competitive, and of the highest professional standard, so you will gain all of the skills and knowledge needed for your future career. We have very close relationships with key Scottish national companies, such as Scottish Opera, the National Theatre of Scotland and Scottish Ballet as well as companies across Scotland, such as the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow, Pitlochry Festival Theatre, the Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh, Blue Parrot Production and Events in Edinburgh and Warehouse Sound in Glasgow.

Further afield we have well-established relationships with national and international organisations such as the Association of British Theatre Technician (ABTT), the Association of Stage Pyrotechnicians (ASP) the Production Lighting and Sound Association (PLASA), United States Institute for Theatre Technology, Inc. (USITT), Cirque du Soleil, TAIT, Just FX and the National Theatre in London.

Our graduates will aspire to become the creative leaders and innovators of the future and will be encouraged to push accepted boundaries and create new standards of practice in the industry at large.

Institution Code:

R58

Programme Code:

204F

UK Deadline:

31 January 2023

International Deadline:

31 March 2023

Programme Structure

Your first year will be based on experiential learning and skills acquisition focusing on the context of production through a range of classroom, workshop and venue-based experiences. This culminates in allocated assistant roles in each core area on RCS productions (e.g. Assistant Stage Manager, Assistant Electrician).

You will engage with a broad-based introduction to the production environment and standard practices both in core subjects and other related areas. In Personal and Professional Practice modules you will investigate and analyse the importance of the key issues such as the creative and cultural context, equality and diversity awareness, the importance of health and safety and the RCS requirement for best practice in this area.

You will also investigate the collaborative nature of production and performance and have the opportunity to work with other students from across RCS.

You will be allocated to production roles, with increasing levels of responsibility focusing on your specialist subject area. Advanced teaching in the key areas of your specialism, as well as integral skills such as management and communication, leads to allocation on more senior roles on RCS productions (e.g. Stage Manager, Production Electrician).

You will also engage with Options modules where you can choose from a range of modules on offer from programmes across the institution.

In your final year, you are expected to perform with autonomy, consolidating your learning and applying the specialist skills you have gained in senior roles on RCS productions. Staff support is available on request and through tutorials but we expect you to operate on an almost professional level.

You will negotiate your individual pathway in your final year to take advantage of the available production roles, Options modules and work placement opportunities.

Work is assessed through staff observations of your practice but reflection underpins the approach to assessment. Reflective blogs and summary statements form a key component of assessment in Personal and Professional Development modules.

There is a strong emphasis on the assessment of process and so all paperwork generated in each practical role is also assessed as evidence of your widening understanding of the production process and your role within it.

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 conservatoire-based technical theatre degree in Scotland
  • Industry placement during your studies
  • Award-winning stage management department
  • Small class sizes
  • Regular workshops and masterclasses with distinguished visiting professionals
  • New kit acquisitions include Martin & Robe moving lights, Kinesys stage automation, Yamaha QL5, Kinesys, KV2, Shure Axient and DPA microphones
  • Develop invaluable industry contacts with our unrivalled professional partners including Shure Distribution Ltd, Black Light, the Production Lighting and Sound Association, the Association of Lighting Designers, National Theatre of Scotland, Scottish Ballet, Scottish Opera, Citizens Theatre, Pitlochry Festival Theatre and Soundgirls.org
  • Work on a diverse range of productions including ballet, opera, contemporary performance and Christmas shows
  • Fully equipped proscenium arch theatre with a fly tower and automated flying capabilities, as well as the highest level equipment in both lighting and sound
  • Study abroad opportunities in Europe, Australia, California and Hong Kong

Hear from our graduates

Calum Paterson

BA Production Technology & Management 2018


Pandemic Practitioner

Read our interview with Zeni Bollok and hear about her experience stage managing performances of The Bacchae during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Additional Staff

Tutors
  • Sam Burt – Stage Management Tutor
  • Dave Evans – Lighting Tutor
  • Malcolm Stephen – Stage Supervisor (Tutor)
  • Barry McCall – Sound Tutor
Production Arts & Design Lecturers

The BA Production Arts and Design Programme team also deliver a range of sessions on this programme particularly throughout year one. Also led by the Head of Production, the team consists of five dedicated lecturers:

  • Zander Lee Lecturer in Scenery Construction
  • Martin Mallorie Lecturer in Props Construction
  • Christine Murphy Lecturer in Costume Construction
  • Robin Peoples Lecturer in Design
  • Gary Fry Lecturer in Scenic Art
Central Production Unit (CPU)

CPU staff are also tutors who will mentor and supervise students in the production workshops including tuition and tutorial support. There are also three Production Managers in the CPU who will be your line managers on production work and are there to support your learning. The CPU is separate to the School of Drama, Dance, Production and Film and supports all RCS productions as required.

The CPU staff are:

  • Lynfryn Mackenzie – Head of Technical Production
  • Kevin Murray — Production Manager
  • Colin Bell – Production Manager
  • Gillian Affleck ­- Costume Tutor
  • Gill McLeod – Costume Tutor
  • Linda Logan – Costume Tutor
  • Lynne McGinley – Costume Tutor (PT)
  • Anna Antczak – Costume Tutor (PT)
  • Simon Cook – Workshop Manager
  • Matt Doolan – Construction Tutor
  • Astrella Oldham – Props Tutor
  • Merlin Currie  — Props Tutor
  • Rhonda Barclay — Production Support Assistant (Stores)
Venues Team Technicians

The Venues Team provide technical support in RCS venues and offer advice and guidance in production practice. They work independently to the School of Drama, Dance, Production and Film and have responsibility for all RCS internal venues. The team is led by:

Kevin Robertson  – Receiving Stage Manager

Visiting Staff and Practitioners

Production students also regularly work closely with freelance designers and directors on RCS productions.

In addition to this the department work with a range of professional practitioners in order to support RCS productions, this includes directors, lighting designers, stage managers, production electricians, sound engineers and technical stage managers.

Recent masterclass guests and visiting professionals:

  • Rick Fisher – Lighting Design
  • Davy Cunningham – Lighting Design
  • Bruno Poet – Lighting Design
  • Simon Wilkinson – Lighting Design
  • Simon Hayes – Lighting Design
  • Paule Constable – Lighting Design
  • Tim Reid – Video Design
  • Matthew Strachan – Technical Director, Scottish Ballet
  • Niall Black – Production Management
  • John Robb – Head of Technical, Edinburgh International Festival
  • Andrew Evans – Theatre Health and Safety Consultant
  • GrandMA – Lighting Console Programming
  • Ambersphere – Lighting Console Programming
  • Vectorworks – Digital Design
  • Martin Professional – Production Lighting
  • ETC – Lighting Console Programming
  • Raymond Short – Fight Direction
  • RC Annie – Stage Blood and Weapons
  • Kai Fischer – Lighting Design
  • George Baker – Encore Special Effects
  • Callum Howie – Production Management EIF
  • Matt Padden – Sound Designer
  • John Riddell – Theatre Projects
  • Zoe Hayward – Stage Manager, Scottish Ballet
  • Emma Geddes – Head of Automation, Cirque du Soleil
  • Eve Kerr – ASM/Book cover – Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
  • Rory Boyd – Head of Automation, Cirque du Soleil
  • Andrew McCabe – Head of Automation, Cirque du Soleil
  • Calum Willoughby – Unusual Rigging
  • John Riddell – Theatre Projects
  • Kinesys
Programme Support Administrator

Production and Film production programmes also have dedicated administration support.

Kirstin Halliday – Programme Support Administrator (Production & Film)

Production Technology and Management at RCS

Watch our video to learn more about the BA Production Technology and Management programme.

Virtual Tour

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
General Academic 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
  • Recognised equivalences (EU and International Entry Requirements)

We welcome the Scottish Baccalaureate and will accept combinations of Highers and Advanced Highers.

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

Language of Study

The language of study is English. Applicants who first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of proficiency in English. We accept the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Level 6.5 (with no component below 5.5) is required.

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. If you wish to apply for direct entry, please mark the point of entry on UCAS Conservatoires application as 2 or 3.

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 via UCAS Conservatoires

Applications are made through UCAS Conservatoires website. The UCAS Conservatoires application system is separate from the main UCAS undergraduate application system. If you wish to apply to conservatoires and universities within UCAS, you will need to register for both services.

There is a UCAS application fee of £26.50 to register to use UCAS Conservatoires.

To begin a new UCAS Conservatoires application, you will need to register. You can read the UCAS Conservatoires’ advice on completing the UCAS Conservatoires application.

If you need assistance with your application, you can contact UCAS Conservatoires team by telephoning (Monday to Friday, 8.30 — 18.00). Phone 0371 468 0470 from within the UK or +44 330 3330 232 if you are calling from overseas.

Application deadline date

The closing date for all on time undergraduate applications from Scotland and the rest of the UK is 31 January 2023. If you submit your application after this date, we cannot guarantee that you will be invited to audition.

The closing date for International (including EU) applications is 31 March 2022. If you do consider to submit a late application, please contact admissions@rcs.ac.uk in the first instance to check we are accepting late applications. Late applications will be considered on a case by case basis.

We do not offer deferred entry. If you wish to commence in 2024, you must apply next year.

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland institution code is R58. You will also require the following programme code to apply:

BA Production Technology and Management: 204F 

Application Fee

There is a UCAS Conservatoires application fee of £26.50. In addition to the application fee, each conservatoire charges an audition/interview assessment administration fee. For RCS, the audition/interview assessment administration fee is £35 per programme applied for. Fees are not refundable. The fees are paid via the UCAS Conservatoires website and not directly to RCS.

Audition/Interview Assessment Administration fee

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland charges an audition/interview assessment administration fee of £35 per course.

We recognise that auditioning and interviewing for conservatoires, drama and ballet schools can be costly. The audition assessment administration fee charge allows us to offer a thorough and positive experience to all applicants and we encourage you to get in touch to ask the panel questions and find out more about the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland to see if it is the best place for you.

We are 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. Please see the audition fee waivers document for more information

References

It is your responsibility to ask two separate referees to write references and ensure that these are sent to RCS.

The references must be written by two different people and we will not accept references from family, other relatives or close friends.

You can submit your UCAS Conservatoires application form and send your references at a later date, but they must be received prior to your audition date.

UCAS Conservatoires provides reference forms for you to download and send to your referees for completion.

The Interview

Applicants who apply on time (Scottish and rest of UK (RUK) – 31 January 2023, International (including EU) – 31 March 2023) are invited to an interview by email, approximately three weeks before. All interviews will take place online, with individual requests for in-person interviews considered.

Please note that RCS is only obliged to offer one audition/interview date per application. Alternative dates will only be provided (subject to availability) in exceptional circumstances. If you are unable to make your allocated interview date, you should email us immediately stating the reason.

BA Production Technology and Management interviews will take place from November to May.

The production specialisms offered within the BA Production Technology and Management are Stage Management, Lighting, Sound and Stage Technology. You do not need to identify one subject at interview as level one of the programme includes fundamental training in all four areas. There is a specialism selection process at the end of the first year and individual pathways commence from the start of year two.

Your interview will involve an online conversation with two staff members from the Programme. (approx. 30 minutes). At your interview, the panel will ask you about your previous experiences and your interests, but they will focus on your response to some set tasks (as outlined below). There will also be an opportunity for you to ask questions about the programme and discuss any other work you have submitted as part of your portfolio. If you have not completed the set tasks, they will not be able to proceed with the interview.

 

The aim of the interview:

The interview process is designed to ensure that you have every opportunity to demonstrate your potential to develop the relevant skills and qualities necessary to succeed both on a degree-level programme and in a highly competitive profession.

The panel will look for:

  • Creativity and curiosity
  • Technical awareness
  • An ability to analyse and reflect
  • Communication and collaboration skills
  • Self-motivation and an ability to work independently

To assess these skills and qualities, the interview panel will invite you to discuss your response to some predefined tasks, which are explained below.

Prior to attending the interview, you should ensure you have prepared a response to these tasks and completed the ‘About You’ questionnaire (completed online via Acceptd).

If you wish to share your portfolio or any other appropriate documentation to support your application, you should upload your work to Acceptd a minimum of five working days prior to your interview.

Creative Technical Response Task

  • Please source a copy of the play Fences by August Wilson (this can be found online at https://archive.org/details/WilsonFences/mode/2up).
  • Having read the play, have a particular look at Act One Scene One and come to the interview ready to discuss your solutions to any production challenges you see in the script or stage directions. You can focus on your main areas of interest if you wish.
  • Please upload any supplementary information or other work you have produced in support of your observations and solutions.

(This might take the form of, for example, some prompt copy pages, a ground plan, a lighting plan, a sound plot, a flying plot, construction drawings, cue sheets, prop references, sound files or any other research or reference material used to generate your ideas and solutions.)

Production/Performance Presentation

You are asked to attend a performance of a production of your choice and be able to discuss your observations of this production with the panel. Ideally this should be a live performance but, if this is not possible, a recorded or streamed stage production can be used.

This should be a recent professional production if possible but not one you have worked on. This may be an opportunity to challenge yourself by choosing a type of performance or venue that you have not experienced before. The panel will want to hear your opinion of the production during the interview so prepare some notes to help you but don’t write an essay to read out.

You should endeavour to give a clear account of the production elements such as the overall set & costume design, staging, costume, props, lighting, sound and stage technology to the interview panel. Whilst an overview of the directing or performances is sometimes useful, this is not what we want you to focus on.

Remember that your opinion is valid and should be used to comment on the overall effect of the production. You may also be asked to comment on how you would have approached certain elements differently, given the chance.

It is often helpful to provide supplementary evidence of your visit such as publicity material or personal notes and sketches to illustrate a point.

Selection Process

No panel decision on the outcome of your interview will be offered at the end of the session.  You will be informed via UCAS Conservatoires as soon as possible afterwards, this can take up to six weeks.

At the culmination of the interview day the panel will review all the candidates seen.  At this stage the panel will evaluate your suitability and would normally conclude and settle on one of the following courses of action:-

  1. To accept you onto the programme (either conditional or unconditional).
  1. To accept you onto the ‘reserve list’ which suggests your application is acceptable, but implies the panel would wish to complete other interview sessions prior to making a final decision about the offer of a place on the programme.
  1. To decline your application on this occasion.

If you would like to discuss any matters relating to the programme or interview procedures please feel free to contact Ros Maddison, Head of Production, at r.maddison@rcs.ac.uk.

We want you to do well so please try and relax during the interview process and do your best to show us just how good you are.

Following Your Interview

All decisions will be posted on UCAS Conservatoires following your audition via UCAS Conservatoires Track,  (you will need your username and password). You will also receive notification from UCAS Conservatoires when decisions on all your choices are available.

Please see below for an explanation of UCAS Conservatoires codes:

Guaranteed Unconditional (GU) RCS is satisfied from the information you have given, that you have already met the conditions for entry. Unless your application and/or qualification are subsequently shown to be fraudulent, a guaranteed unconditional offer is binding.

Guaranteed Conditional (GC) RCS has made the offer subject to you meeting certain conditions such as examination results. Conditions can be viewed via UCAS Conservatoires Track. Unless your application and/or qualifications are subsequently shown to be fraudulent, the offer is binding if you accept the offer and meet the conditions. You must meet the conditions of the offer by 31 August 2021, unless an earlier date is specified. If your conditions include obtaining IELTS (English Language test), you must meet this condition by 31 May 2022.

Reserve Unconditional (VU) RCS is satisfied from the information you have given, that you have already met the conditions for entry and you have been offered a place on our reserve pool.

Reserve Conditional (VC) RCS has offered a place on its reserve pool subject to you meeting certain conditions such as examination results. Conditions can be viewed via UCAS Conservatoires Track.

Unsuccessful (R) RCS does not wish to offer you any type of a place.

Reserve Outcomes

If you have received a ‘reserve’ outcome, it means that RCS is not able to offer you a guaranteed place at the time of making our decision. A ‘reserve’ outcome indicates that RCS would like the opportunity to review its outcome to you in the light of acceptances/declines to its guaranteed offers. You will become part of a ‘pool’ of ‘reserve’ candidates and RCS may choose to make you a guaranteed offer if a suitable place becomes available.  Reserve does not mean that a place has been ‘reserved’ for you. If RCS chooses not to make you a guaranteed offer, you will not have a place to start at RCS.

If you have been given a ‘reserve’ outcome, in order to be considered for a guaranteed place (should one become available) you will need to accept the outcome (and meet any conditions if applicable).

Reserve outcomes remain active until the end of August.  The decision to wait and see whether a guaranteed place becomes available, or to accept an offer at another conservatoire is entirely at your discretion. As soon as your situation changes, this is updated on UCAS Conservatoires.

Replying To Offers

As soon as a decision is made, UCAS Conservatoires will let you know. You must reply online via UCAS Conservatoires Track. Your reply date is displayed on Track. If you do not reply by the date given, your offers will be declined automatically. The reply date may be different to other applicants as it is based on when you receive your last decision.

Last decision by Your reply date is
3 January 2023 1 February 2023
15 March 2023 11 April 2023
15 May 2023 1 June 2023
11 July 2023 27 July 2023
2 August 2023 8 September 2023

Please see the UCAS Conservatoires website for more information on replying to offers. If you make an application through UCAS Conservatoires, UCAS or UCAS Teacher Training, you cannot hold more than one confirmed pla