Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Royal Society of Edinburgh unveil new festivals partnership celebrating power of the arts

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Royal Society of Edinburgh unveil new festivals partnership celebrating power of the arts

Published: 30/07/2019

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the Royal Society of Edinburgh are to celebrate the power and potential of the arts through an active new partnership during Edinburgh’s festival season this August. This is the first time two of Scotland’s most prestigious institutions have come together to develop an engagement programme for the world’s great city festivals of arts and culture.

Throughout the month activities include dynamic discussions, a celebration of RCS graduates and an opportunity for prospective students and their families to find out about life studying the performing and production arts at one of the world’s leading institutions.

All events will take place at the RSE’s stunning HQ in the heart of Edinburgh’s New Town and at the heart of the festival city. The activity complements Curious, an exciting programme of engagement developed for the festivals season by the RSE.

Scotland’s national conservatoire will also have a real impact across Edinburgh’s International Festival and Fringe programmes with current students and graduates involved in a richly-diverse range of performances.

One of the highlights at the RSE is a Creative Conversation featuring a distinguished panel including acclaimed crime writer Val McDermid; composer Sir James MacMillan; chief executive of the British Council Sir Ciarán Devane and chaired by founder and former CEO of the Creative Industries Federation, John Kampfner. The Conversation theme is: Arts & Culture: Solution to the 21st Century’s Biggest Problems?

Professor Jeffrey Sharkey, Principal of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, said:

“During August Edinburgh plays host to a richly diverse community of artists and audiences who participate in the world’s greatest arts festivals.

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is delighted to be at the heart of this great cultural celebration through the performances of our students and graduates and through the convening potential of our great new partnership with the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and I look forward to celebrating and sharing the power and potential of culture and the arts throughout.”

Dr Rebekah Widdowfield, Chief Executive of the RSE, Scotland’s National Academy, said:

“For August, the Royal Society of Edinburgh has put together Curious; a varied and vibrant programme of talks, demonstrations, workshops, exhibitions and performances which we hope will inspire everyone who walks through our doors. The RSE believes that knowledge is only useful when it is shared and we are delighted to be able to provide an opportunity for people to interact with some of the fantastic leaders, thinkers, artists and performers living and working in Scotland today.

“Our eclectic line-up would not have been possible without the input of our expert Fellowship, the Young Academy of Scotland and creative partners such as the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. We are excited for Curious to begin!”

Dates and Times:

  • Open House
    Find out more about what goes on at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Includes a performance from graduate and BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year 2018, Hannah Rarity. Email to book your place. 12 August, 4-5.30pm.
  • Alumni Networking
    Graduates of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland are invited to catch up with friends and staff old and new over a drink. Includes a performance from Hannah Rarity and welcome from Professor Hugh Hodgart, Director of Drama, Dance, Production and Film. Email to book your place. 12 August. 6-7.30pm
  • Creative Conversation
    Arts and culture: creative solutions to the 21st century’s biggest problems? A dynamic panel chaired by founder and former CEO of the Creative Industries Federation, John Kampfner, will respond to the provocation, engage in debate and respond to audience questions. Panellists include:
    April Chamberlain, chair of the Royal Television Society Scotland and co-artistic director of Glasgow Lunchtime Theatre
    Sir James MacMillan, composer and international conductor
    Val McDermid, celebrated and top-selling crime writer
    Sir Ciarán Devane, chief executive, British Council
    Professor Jeffrey Sharkey, principal of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
  • Tea and Just Talk
    Staff and students from RCS’ Research and Knowledge Exchange will welcome RSE members and members of the public for one-hour interactions on their topics of expertise. Throughout August. Further information is on the RSE website

Elsewhere students from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s Masters Musical Theatre programme return to the capital for a 15th Edinburgh Festival Fringe run with a trio of musical theatre productions.

Legally Blonde the Musical, the smart and sassy story of self-discovery, is staged at the Music Hall at the Assembly Rooms from 2 August. Two brand new works will also receive their world premieres. Limbo: City of Dreams and Limbo: The Twelve are created in partnership with the American Music Theatre Project at Northwestern University, Illinois.

It is the third year of the transatlantic partnership which brings original musical theatre to an international audience devised and performed by some of the brightest new talent in the UK and US.

More information on the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s RSE programme at the Edinburgh festivals is available by logging on to RCS’ dedicated Edinburgh site:

Places for the Creative Conversation are limited. For information contact

You might also be interested in reading


Powerhouse musical theatre partnership in the spotlight

Two reasons to celebrate for RCS graduates Jonathan O’Neill and Isaac Savage …  they’re in the running for a top entrepreneurial award and have also been named RCS Bruce Millar Fellows with £10,000 funding It was a ray of light during the dark days of lockdown. A conversation between two friends sparked a new business