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Collaboration & Performance

As the only conservatoire in Europe to offer degrees across all of the performing arts, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland provides you with the opportunity to collaborate with peers across the disciplines.

Our groundbreaking curriculum is built around the ethos of collaboration in performance. Here all students work together to learn new skills and create truly memorable and unique performances. Our hope is that you will graduate from RCS with a true appreciation for and insight into other art forms, and with a network of contacts and experiences from across the disciplines you can use in your future career.

Performance is central to the RCS curriculum and each year we programme more than 500 performances and events held in our five professional performance venues and at external venues across the country.

Collaboration in Performance

With so many performances taking place, there is ample opportunity for collaboration across the art forms. Some examples of collaboration that take place each year are given below to give you some insight into how our student body works together to create amazing performances:

Two performers sing to each other on the airport terminal set of flight

Production Programmes and the School of Drama


Every performance in the School of Drama is created jointly with the Production department. Production students help to realise the director’s vision for the performance, from designing the set and costume, to the sound and lighting design and to stage managing the crew and performances.

Production students are an integral part of the performance process and work closely with actors and performers from across the School of Drama to create the best possible output.

Piano and Dance


Every year as part of our Piano Festival, our pianists and dancers come together to perform an evening of new music and new choreography in the Stevenson Hall. Student composers and choreographers work together on the performance, and it is a highlight of our performance calendar.  

We even offer a postgraduate programme, in collaboration with Scottish Ballet, for pianists who want to train specifically to work in dance settings: MMus/MA Piano for Dance

A composing student, violinist, percussonist, a sound production student, celloist and pianist prepare or Plug fest.

PLUG Festival


Our annual PLUG Festival is an opportunity for cross-collaboration within our School of Music. Our Composition and Music Performance students work together and premiere new work, offering a professional platform for our students to showcase their talent.

Over the nearly two decades we have been staging PLUG Festival, over 300 new works have received their premiere performances here at RCS!

Students perform a scene from '3 Decembers' on the stage to the right. On the left, students conduct and play music for the scene.

School of Music with Opera and Musical Theatre


All productions staged by our Opera and Musical Theatre departments are performed with live orchestration by our School of Music students. This gives our Music students ample opportunity to perform in a variety of contexts, playing works by some of the world’s best-loved composers like Stephen Sondheim and Mozart.

Recent Musical Theatre productions have included Into the Woods, Urinetown, Children of Eden, Merrily We Roll Along, and Sweeney Todd, and recent Opera productions have included Idomeneo, Cendrillon, Menotti’s The Medium, and Chabrier’s L’Etoile.

Film, Acting, and Composition


Our inter-disciplinary conservatoire environment gives Filmmaking students easy access to key collaborators for their yearly projects and final-year films, including performers from our School of Drama and composers from our School of Music.

In turn, BA Acting students gain experience acting to camera and graduate from RCS prepared for a career on either stage or screen and our composition students can try their hand creating new work for different contexts from film scoring to live orchestral performance.

Two students are performing on-stage

Off Kilter


The newest addition to our festival lineup, Off Kilter, is a festival of new work; a playful exploration of form and storytelling, allowing students to tell the stories they want to tell. Off Kilter is a collaboration within our School of Drama, performed by second-year BA Acting and BA Performance in British Sign Language (BSL) and English students.

Off Kilter is a platform for students to showcase their abilities to devise, write and collaborate on brand new pieces of work. Held in an external venue, the festival also gives students the chance to create new work for a public audience. This year, the festival is taking place across three days in June at Civic House.

Options Modules

As one of the world’s most interdisciplinary conservatoires, we are fortunate to have leading experts in dance, drama, music, production and film teach on the one campus. We want students to have the opportunity to broaden their experience of the performing and production arts and be able to take a class in something outwith their own specialism.

We have created a suite of Options modules which students can undertake alongside their principal studies. For example, musicians can take a class in film music or acting, and dancers can take piano lessons. You can choose Options modules that complement your studies or they can just be something you’re interested in trying.

A small selection of the most popular modules are:

  • Acting
  • Alexander Technique
  • Classical Improvisation
  • Conducting Skills
  • Effective Practice Techniques
  • Film Music
  • Introduction to Music Psychology
  • Music Technology and Sound Recording
  • Orchestration

Performance Opportunities

The curriculum is built around performance. Each year we programme more than 500 performances in each of our five professional venues, as well as in external venues across the country and internationally.

Every performance programme has opportunities for student performances throughout your studies and RCS attracts an audience of more than 56,000 each year. As the national conservatoire, we are renowned for producing the next generation of performers and attract audiences and reviewers from across the country to see the latest productions from RCS.

Some of our regular performance opportunities across the disciplines include:

Grit orchestra plays om Stevenson Hall. The room is full of musicians.

Music


  • RCS Symphony Orchestra
  • PLUG Festival
  • Piano Festival
  • Mondays and Friday at One lunchtime concert series
  • RCS Big Band
  • RCS Stevenson Winds
  • Blue Mondays Jazz Series
  • Traditional Music Afternoon/Evening concerts

Drama


  • Shakespeare (BA Acting and MA Classical and Contemporary Text)
  • Musical Theatre; recent productions include Urinetown, Into the Woods, Children of Eden, Little Women, and Merrily We Roll Along
  • On the Verge festival (MA Classical and Contemporary Text)
  • Off Kilter festival (BA Acting and BA Performance in BSL & English)
  • New writing from our MA/MFA Classical and Contemporary Text students
  • Contemporary plays (BA Acting); recent productions include The Wonderful World of Dissocia, Glory on Earth, Attempts on her Life, The Angry Brigade, and A Very Expensive Poison
Modern ballet dancers on stage in black costumes with a red cloudy background

Dance


  • Annual Graduation Performances
  • Piano and Dance
  • Solos Evening
  • Ballet and Song
Students sings during a performance of 'Cendrillon'. Confetti falls across the stage. The actors wear formal attire.

Opera


  • Opera Scenes
  • Two large-scale opera productions each year, one on the RCS New Athenaeum stage and, from 2025, one in partnership with Scottish Opera. Recent RCS productions have included Idomeneo, Cendrillon, L’étoile, and Hänsel und Gretel.

Come and visit us and see a performance for yourself! You’ll find upcoming listings on our What’s On

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