Summer graduation will celebrate student success and recognise Krysty Wilson-Cairns with honorary doctorate

Summer graduation will celebrate student success and recognise Krysty Wilson-Cairns with honorary doctorate

Published: 01/07/2021

One of the film industry’s brightest stars will be awarded an honorary doctorate from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland today (Thursday, July 1).

Screenwriter Krysty Wilson-Cairns – who will co-write a new Star Wars movie with Oscar-winning director Taika Waititi – will be honoured in the online summer graduation.

Screenwriter and RCS graduate Krysty Wilson-Cairns is interviewed in the new issue of Review. Image © Robert McFadzean-RCS

© Robert McFadzean

Around 300 students will graduate across the disciplines of music, drama, dance, production, film and education at the nation’s conservatoire, named one of the world’s top three destinations to study the performing arts in the QS World University Rankings earlier this year.

In June, RCS took the number one spot for arts, drama and music education in the Complete University Guide 2022. It also won The Herald’s Higher Education Award for Supporting Student Wellbeing for the RCS Home from Home project, which connects the student community, combats isolation and offers tailored wellbeing support.

Tune in to the RCS summer graduation on Thursday 1 July: rcs.ac.uk/graduation

Krysty’s honorary doctorate (Doctor of Film) will recognise her outstanding achievements in film in a career that has taken her from Glasgow’s southside to Hollywood. The degree was conferred in a Covid-safe ceremony at Glasgow Film Theatre and filmed for a segment that will be shown during the day’s three livestream ceremonies at 11am, 2pm and 4pm.

Due to the continued restrictions on large public gatherings in Scotland and with student and staff safety as the priority, RCS has worked in collaboration with the RCS Students’ Union to create a special day of celebration.

Professor Jeffrey Sharkey, Principal of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, said: “Graduation is a milestone, a day of celebration where we come together to honour our remarkable students. It’s also a day of reflection, to take stock of everything that has been achieved, particularly following the challenging period we have all experienced.

“We are so proud of our graduands for their creativity, commitment and passion for the arts – we have no doubt they will go on to great things. The care and consideration they have shown each other, and the RCS community, should also be recognised. We wish them all the very best for this new and exciting chapter of their lives.”

Principal Sharkey will deliver the graduation address live from the Stevenson Hall concert venue in RCS. The livestream ceremonies will also feature pre-recorded music and dance performances from students and alumni.

Piper and graduating student Isla Jane Stout will perform against a backdrop of Glasgow landmarks while MYST duo, violinist Abigail Young and cellist Balázs Renczés, both graduates, will perform an original work, Merengés. Graduating BA Modern Ballet students will unveil a new work choreographed by Tadhg Quigley Brennan with dancers Emily Hawkins, Lili Marin-Curtoud, Jessica Neilson and Katie Taplin.

An arrangement of Wayfaring Stranger by Sophie Joint on piano, with vocals from Josephine De Geer, will be heard during a celebration of the work of Krysty Wilson-Cairns.Krysty Wilson-Cairns’ acceptance speech and address to graduands will be unveiled during the stream.

Krysty Wilson-Cairns said: “To receive this honorary doctorate is just mind-blowing. I never thought I would be honoured in this way, and to be honoured by the Royal Conservatoire is so special to me because it has been such a huge part of my life. To be recognised for your work in front of your peers, in front of your friends and family, and where you grew up, is just really special. I had an incredible time when I was here.”

Krysty has enjoyed a stellar rise to fame since graduating from the Digital Film and Television programme at RCS in 2009, now the BA Filmmaking degree. She co-wrote World War One epic and box office smash 1917 with director Sam Mendes that scooped a string of awards including seven BAFTAs, two Golden Globes and three Oscars – and earned Krysty her first Oscar nomination in the Original Screenplay category.

Krysty Wilson Cairns with Sam Mendes

Krysty Wilson-Cairns on 1917 set with director Sam Mendes and script supervisor Nicoletta Mani. Image © Francois Duhamel/Universal Pictures and DreamWorks Pictures

Krysty also co-wrote Last Night in Soho with acclaimed director Edgar Wright. The psychological thriller, which hits cinema screens in October this year, is set in London with a cast that includes Anya Taylor-Joy, Dame Diana Rigg, Matt Smith and Terence Stamp.

Last year, it was announced that Krysty will take on one of the world’s biggest and best-loved movie franchises. Krysty and Taika Waititi – who won Best Adapted Screenplay for Jojo Rabbit at the 2020 Oscars – will co-write the script for the as-yet-unnamed Star Wars feature film, with Waititi also on directing duties.

Principal Sharkey added: “Krysty Wilson-Cairns is an inspiration to students here at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the next generation of screenwriters and filmmakers around the globe.

“It has been wonderful to watch her career skyrocket, taking her from Glasgow to Hollywood with so many achievements along the way, including her first Oscar nomination that we’re sure won’t be her last. It’s also hugely exciting that Krysty will become part of the legendary Star Wars franchise. This honorary doctorate is a tribute to an exceptionally talented and dedicated artist who we are proud to call one of our own.”

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