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BA Production Technology and Management

Introduction

Welcome to the Production at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

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 technology, 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 the key Scottish national companies, such as Scottish Opera, the National Theatre of Scotland and Scottish Ballet as well as the majority of regional theatres such as the Citizens Theatre, Glasgow, Pitlochry Festival Theatre and the Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh.

Further afield in the UK we have well established relationships with national organisations such as the Association of British Theatre Technician (ABTT), the Association of Stage Pyrotechnicians (ASP) the Production Lighting and Sound Association (PLASA), and companies such as Stage Technologies, 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.

Introduction

Welcome to the Production at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

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 technology, 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 the key Scottish national companies, such as Scottish Opera, the National Theatre of Scotland and Scottish Ballet as well as the majority of regional theatres such as the Citizens Theatre, Glasgow, Pitlochry Festival Theatre and the Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh.

Further afield in the UK we have well established relationships with national organisations such as the Association of British Theatre Technician (ABTT), the Association of Stage Pyrotechnicians (ASP) the Production Lighting and Sound Association (PLASA), and companies such as Stage Technologies, 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.

Programme structure

BA Production Technology and Management is a practice-based programme which develops skill, knowledge and understanding incrementally. Students on this programme are interviewed and accepted based on their profile in one or several areas of study taken from the four core subjects on offer (stage management, lighting, sound and stage technology). All of these disciplines are studied in year one and into year two before specialist pathways are followed. At this point Lighting Design becomes part of the core provision and a specialist pathway in its own right alongside Production lighting.

Year One

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 subject areas and more broadly in related production arts and design subjects. In Professional Practice modules you will investigate and analyze the importance of personal development and the broader creative context as well as being introduced to 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.

Year Two

Year two aims to consolidate fundamental skills and knowledge and to introduce more advanced approaches and techniques including management and self-promotion. You will be allocated to production roles, with increasing levels of responsibility and will choose a specialist subject to focus on. Advanced teaching in the key areas of your specialism, as well as integral skills such as management and communication, then leads to allocation on more senior roles on RCS productions (e.g. Stage Manager, Production Electrician). From this position you can begin to develop leadership skills whilst at the same time consolidating your practical capabilities. Trimester two brings a return to the ‘ classroom’ and a menu of both compulsory and elective studies through which you will equip yourself to continue your personal development journey and ultimately undertake more complex, senior roles. Professional practice at Level Two focuses on the development of the individual practitioner, looking at more advance health and safety practices, practical management techniques such as budgeting and scheduling, personal development and promotional tools such as CVs and websites as well as a mock interview with an industry partner. You will also engage with options modules where you can choose from a range of modules on offer from programmes across the institution or undertake a negotiated project.

Year Three

In your final year, you are expected to perform with full autonomy, consolidating your learning and applying the specialist skills you have gained on senior roles on RCS productions. You will begin by working collaboratively with year two students offering the opportunity to explore more complex operational roles rather than solely leading a team. This will enable your skills base to develop to the highest possible standards as well as providing an opportunity to reflect on leadership strategies by observing other students in management roles. 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 secondment opportunities along with a final managerial role. Professional practice at Level Three builds on previous modules but focuses on the company rather than the individual introducing broader management techniques, health and safety management and the development of entrepreneurial and business skills. You will also be offered the opportunity to visit at least one major trade show or association conference during your final year.

Assessment

Most 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 all 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.

Staff and masterclasses

There are three levels of full time staffing support for students on the BA Production Technology and Management Programme. They are:

Programme Teams

Oversee the academic process and deliver formal teaching and tutorials. The BA Production Technology and Management programme is made up of the Head of Production, four dedicated lecturers and two production tutors.

Ros Maddison – Head of Production/Programme Leader

Steve Macluskie – Lecturer in Stage Technology

Susan May Hawley – Lecturer in Stage Management

Christoph Wagner – Lecturer in Lighting

Jevan Burchell – Lecturer in Sound Technology

Rosanna Sutherland – Stage Management Tutor

Yvonne Carruthers Stage Management Tutor (maternity cover)

Christine Scott – Lighting and Sound Tutor

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 four dedicated lecturers and two tutors.

Zander Lee – Lecturer in Scenery Construction

Martin Mallorie – Lecturer in Design and Props Construction

Christine Murphy – Lecturer in Design and Costume Construction

Robin Peoples – Lecturer in Design

Gary Fry – Lecturer in Scenic Art

Central Production Unit (CPU)

Arr 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 but who also have tutor status and are there to support your learning. The CPU is separate to the School of Drama, Dance, Production and Screen and supports all RCS productions as required.

Venues’ Team Technicians

Supervise students in the RCS venues and provide advice and guidance in production practice. The Venues Team also work independently to the School of Drama, Dance, Production and Screen and have responsibility for all RCS internal venues. The team is led by;

Kevin Robertson Resident Stage Manager

The Programme also has administration support from the AAS staff.

Ruth Johnston Programme Support Administrator (Production & Screen)

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
  • Davy Cunningham
  • Bruno Poet
  • Simon Wilkinson
  • Simon Hayes
  • Jo Town
  • Niall Black
  • John Robb
  • GrandMA
  • Grid Iron
  • RC Annie
  • Matthew Strachan
  • NVA

Why choose us?

  • The only conservatoire-based technical theatre degree in Scotland
  • Industry placement
  • Award-winning stage management department
  • Regular workshops and masterclasses with distinguished visiting professionals
  • 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, the National Theatre of Scotland, Scottish Ballet, Scottish Opera, Citizens Theatre, Tron Theatre and Pitlochry Festival Theatre
  • Work on a diverse range of productions – everything from ballet to contemporary performance and from opera to Christmas shows
  • Fully-equipped proscenium arch theatre with a fly tower and automated flying capabilities as well the highest level equipment in both lighting and sound
  • Study abroad opportunities in Europe, California and Hong Kong
  • The only UK conservatoire offering opportunities to collaborate with staff and fellow students across dance, drama, music and screen
  • Excellent staff-student ratio
  • Attendance at production association events
  • Purpose built production workshops and five public performance spaces

 

How to apply

Applications for the BA Production Technology and Management programme should be made through the UCAS Conservatoires website. There is a UCAS application fee of £24 (which is in addition to the audition fee) which allows you up to six choices of programme of study.

Preparing for the interview

You are invited to bring any evidence to the interview that you think will support your application. The interview panel will judge each applicant as an individual with a unique mix of qualities. You are encouraged to bring practical examples of your work to the interview which might take the form of:

  • prompt books, cue sheets and other production-related documentation
  • examples of lighting and/or sound designs
  • rigging plans or technical specification sheets
  • evidence of previous production experiences, whether at school, amateur level or professionally

Before your interview, you will be sent a predefined exercise which is intended to enable you to demonstrate both your problem solving capacity and your approach to a given task. You will be asked to bring your response to the interview and you will also be asked to discuss a piece of theatre that you have seen recently.

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

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 – 6.5 with a minimum score of 5.5 in each component

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 2016-17

  • Scotland / EU Students – £1,820
  • Rest of UK Students – £9,000
  • International Students – £15,135

Scotland / EU students

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

Our graduates work in a huge range of companies all over the world. Here are a few examples of where some of our recent graduates work:

Andrew McCabe
Automation Technician on TORUK The First Flight international tour, Cirque du Soleil

Robbie Butler
Freelance Lighting Designer

Chris Gowling
Production Manager, Beacon Arts Centre

Ross Jardine
Assistant Stage Manager on Cinderella at The London Palladium (Christmas 2016)

Eve Kerr
Assistant Stage Manager, National Theatre

David McMorris
Fleet-wide Audio Developer, Disney Cruise Lines

Daniel Thompson
Project Engineer, Tait Delstar

Fraser Walker
Lighting Designer and Programmer, Fix 8 Group

Calum Willoughby
Owner/Rigger, Pinnacle Rigging and Access Ltd

Ben Terry
Head of Lighting, Beacon Arts Centre

Students are prepared for a wide range of diverse careers, and our past graduates worked in a huge range of companies, on tours and specialisms all over the world such as:

Mark Carry
Acrobatic Rigger – Dragone, Macao

Emma Geddes
Automation Operator, Cirque du Soleil

Wendy Manson
Automation Advisor, Cirque du Soleil

Chris McDougall
Production – Esplanade Theatres on the Bay, Singapore

Alix Ross
Senior Technician, Royal Opera House

Helen Sennett
Grange Park Opera, General Manager

Malcolm Stephen
Stage Supervisor/Tutor – RCS

Thomas Velluet-Draper
Automation Technician – Dragone, Macao

Facilities

In addition to being an academic institution, the Royal Conservatoire is Scotland’s busiest performing arts venue. Its outstanding and well-equipped performance facilities provide a rich resource for the community and are regularly hired for public presentations by local and national performing arts companies for dance and drama productions, as well as for music concerts and recitals. This makes RCS a hub for performing arts activities in Glasgow and provides a stimulating contribution to Production students’ learning environment.

The Renfrew Street building houses a variety of sophisticated, state-of-the-art venues, which were purpose-built to accommodate different types of performance genre and production styles to varying audience sizes.

The New Athenaeum Theatre is the largest performance space and principal auditorium, seating 344. In terms of through-put this venue functions in exactly the same way as any professional producing theatre housing both drama and opera productions. It has stage left dock door access. The counterweight flying system is situated stage right. The proscenium opening is variable and the orchestra pit can be mechanically raised to form an extended forestage.

The Chandler Studio is a flexible space with approximately 100 seats, which are movable, modular units that can be arranged to represent end-on, traverse or promenade staging configurations. The Studio is often used for smaller scale, more intimate and experimental theatre work, but is nevertheless fully equipped with lighting and sound equipment, and has appropriate backstage access to the construction and painting workshops.

The Alexander Gibson Opera School houses rehearsal and coaching rooms and a relatively adaptable performance space for small-scale drama projects, opera scenes, music recitals and concerts.

RCS also maintains excellent, fully equipped design studios and workshop spaces at the Wallace Studios at Speirs Locks where both production work and student practical training occur. These facilities are second to none and include wet and dry prop rooms, a paint shop with full sized paint frame and motorised bridge, a fully equipped machine shop and construction workshop with welding bay, ample costume construction workshops with considerable wardrobe stock stores and three studios for project work.

The award-winning facilities and equipment have been acknowledged as sector leading both nationally and internationally and RCS has an established track record for providing the highest quality education in the Technical and Production Arts.

Students also work in external spaces and venues such as the Tron Theatre, the Theatre Royal in Glasgow, the Kings Theatre and the Festival Theatre in Edinburgh and the Criterion in London.

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