Aberdeenshire Council and The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland to launch arts hub in North East of Scotland

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Aberdeenshire Council are to widen access to high quality performing arts education in the North East of Scotland with the launch of a performing arts hub.

Fraserburgh has been identified as the home of the second Royal Conservatoire fair access arts hub following the first hub launched at Dumfries House in Ayrshire last summer.

The hub will be funded by Aberdeenshire Council which today committed approximately £45,000 per annum towards its development.

The development of the Fraserburgh hub is part of the Royal Conservatoire’s strategic priorities to widen access to arts education at Scotland’s national conservatoire and its world-class education for the most marginalised areas of the country.

Working in partnership with Aberdeenshire Council, the new hub will include local access to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Junior Conservatoire programmes in music, dance, acting, film and the multi-award winning Transitions 20/40 programme that provides performing arts education for young people living in the most disadvantaged parts of Scotland.

Professor Jeffrey Sharkey, Principal of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland said: “As Scotland’s national conservatoire we’re committed to creating opportunities for young people across the country to experience the power and transformative potential of the performing arts.

“Innovative, community-based collaborations such as this are very welcome and are key to enabling young people to have access to the high quality arts education irrespective of geographical location.

“We look forward to working with Aberdeenshire Council to nurture the artistic potential of young people in the North East of Scotland".

Andrew Comrie, Director of Academic Innovation, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland said: “This is a ground-breaking and innovative programme designed in partnership and with the initial aim to provide local access for young people in the North East to our Junior Conservatoire programmes in music, acting, dance and film as well as to our successful Transitions 20/40 programme which provides access to immersive training for young people living in the most disadvantaged parts of Scotland who show potential and commitment to pursuing study in the performing arts.”

Councillor Alison Evison, Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services, said: “This is an incredibly exciting moment for communities in Fraserburgh and across Aberdeenshire.

“The North East is home to very talented children and young people who we want to nurture from primary school up so they have opportunities to develop not only their artistic skills but also their self-confidence.

“Education in the arts is a sound preparation for careers on stage, in film, in orchestras and in many other spheres.

“By working closely with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, one of the best places to receive a performing arts education in the world, we are widening access to a whole host of people who otherwise might not have been able to develop their talents.”

Councillor Charles Buchan Vice-chair of the committee and Fraserburgh Council, said: “It has been excellent to hear the ideas and plans of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Aberdeenshire Council’s Cultural Services team.

“I am absolutely delighted about this initiative and I know my thoughts are shared with the community in Fraserburgh, which has a very strong arts background. I very much look forward to seeing the programme develop over the course of the next few months and years.”

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, ranked sixth in the world for performing arts education, will begin classes at the Fraserburgh arts hub in September 2017. The Royal Conservatoire will be working closely with the cultural services team at Aberdeenshire to start to plan the programme of provision in detail with key stakeholders offering arts provision in the area.

The inaugural Royal Conservatoire arts hub, based at Dumfries House in Ayrshire, has seen the creation of Junior Conservatoire music and dance classes for local young people as well as the development of a programme of concerts and performances showcasing a variety of musical forms. Dumfries House is one of the UK’s finest restoration and regeneration programmes and is stewarded by Royal Conservatoire patron, His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales.

This ground-breaking performing arts initiative is part of the Royal Conservatoire’s commitment to working towards the Scottish Government’s priority to ensure fair access to higher education and improving educational performance.

About the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

• The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is ranked sixth in the world for performing arts education and is ranked number one in Scotland for graduate employability, endorsing its status as a national and international centre of excellence for the performing arts.

• In 2017, RCS is celebrating its 170th anniversary. During its existence, it has built on its roots as a national academy of music to become one of Europe’s most multi-disciplinary performing arts higher education centres, offering specialised teaching across music, drama, dance, film and production. RCS is encouraging trans-disciplinary learning throughout its innovative curriculum and throughout 2017, the institution will host a series of performances and special events recognising its rich history and world class reputation for performing arts education.

• Around 1100 students are currently pursuing degrees at RCS across its specialisms. The conservatoire works in partnership with the national companies, including the National Theatre of Scotland, Scottish Opera and BBC Scotland, to provide students with the very best learning experiences the Scottish landscape has to offer.

• Based in the heart of Glasgow, RCS is also a busy performing arts venue; it hosts more than 500 public performances each year and issues around 64,000 tickets from its box office annually. Additionally, RCS teaches over 3000 part-time learners every year through its Junior Conservatoire and lifelong learning departments.