Edinburgh Festival Fringe to premiere musical collaboration by RCS & Northwestern University

Published: February 10, 2017


The Edinburgh Festival Fringe will premiere two one-act musicals in 2017, the product of an exciting new transatlantic partnership between the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, one of the world’s leading performing arts institutions, and Northwestern University’s American Music Theatre Project (AMTP).

The works will share a thematic connection and will be performed in repertory by students from Northwestern and the Royal Conservatoire as part of the three-week festival in August.

David H. Bell, the Donald G. Robertson Director in Music Theatre and AMTP Artistic Director at Northwestern, and Andrew Panton, Artistic Director of Musical Theatre at the Royal Conservatoire, are leading the collaboration between the two groups of writers. The writers are Northwestern alumni Christopher Anselmo, Ryan Bernsten and Desiree Staples and Royal Conservatoire alumni Claire McKenzie and Scott Gilmour, who launched their own musical theatre company, Noisemaker, in 2012.

“Our new partnership with Northwestern’s American Music Theatre Project breathes new life into the way we educate and develop the next generation of musical theatre directors and performers,” said Professor Jeffrey Sharkey, Principal of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

“We are bringing together first-class students and internationally renowned teaching staff from both institutions to create and produce specially written musical theatre for an international audience. This partnership will allow us to amplify our already successful performances and extend our international reach. I am thrilled to partner with such an impressive team at AMTP as they share our core values of excellence and passion for performance. This new relationship brings to life our ambition to develop a truly integrated collaboration, opening up new experiences and opportunities for the future.”

David H. Bell said: “The creation of music theatre has, like everything else in the 21st century, become a global opportunity. I am honored on behalf of the American Music Theatre Project and Northwestern University to partner with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland to create two theatre pieces that explore similar themes from two very different national perspectives. We hope that through these musicals we can discover more about each other and ourselves and get to explore new methods of collaboration in creating musical theatre stories.”

The two institutions launched the partnership this month with a developmental workshop at the Royal Conservatoire in Glasgow. Another workshop will take place at Northwestern University in May, before rehearsals for the productions begin in July for the August premieres in Edinburgh.