From education to employment

Rose Bruford College announces 2020 plans; adapting to the new normal and beyond

Rose bruford college
  • 2020 Freshers Arrivals Staggered To Enable Existing Students To Complete Their End Of Year Projects, Disrupted Due To The Pandemic
  • Students And Staff Staged 42 Performances And 1 Film In Just Four Weeks In September
  • College To Support 2020 Graduates And Alumni With ‘invisible Fourth Year’ Programme Of Aftercare And Mentorship – Bruford Connects
  • The Only Uk Drama School To Have Its Own Outdoor Venue – The Dome

 Rose Bruford College, one of the UK’s premier drama schools, is pleased to announce the steps it has taken to ensure the safety of all its students, from Freshers through to 2020 graduates, the support and care it is putting in place for the 2020 graduates and other alumni at a challenging time for the arts industry, and the advantages of being the only UK drama school to have a bespoke outdoor theatre space on campus– The Dome.

Rose Bruford, led by Principal Clarie Middleton, who joined in 2018 from her previous role of Chief Executive of Hackney Empire, has a stated aim that as a practice based college, at least 50% of performance and technical courses should continue to be in person. To achieve this, for practical in person projects, class sizes are being reduced, and each group is kept within social bubbles, mirrored where possible in their student accommodation.

Clarie Middleton said,

I want to extend a warm welcome to our new students, who are starting off their training at such a strange and stressful time for the industry and the wider world. We will do our utmost to support them to form a vibrant and inclusive community, to keep them physically and emotionally safe and to do our best to ensure that they receive the same quality of innovative education and pastoral care that we have always provided. We see our students as the changemakers of the future, and we look forward to working with each and every new fresher to find and nurture their unique strengths and talents

Safety measures around campus include thermal cameras at the entrances monitoring the temperatures of everyone coming in, a one way system and hand sanitisers all around the campus, Perspex screens in public areas such as reception, and proper ventilation in all spaces. All indoor studio spaces are marked out at least 1.5sqm, to ensure social distancing.

The arrival of students for the 2020 autumn term has been staggered, in order for the second and third-year students to be able to complete their end of term summer projects and productions, which were delayed due to lockdown. These students – studying for BA degrees in Acting, Actor Musicianship, Design, Stage Management and more – arrived back on campus on 1 September, and in just four weeks, staged 42 productions – including 4 outdoor Shakespeare plays, 6 devised pieces, 6 short studio plays and 1 film.

Many of these productions were staged in the College’s unique outdoor covered theatre – The Dome – which had originally been built in 2017 as part of a student research project by Scenic Arts students, with a stage added in 2018, which enabled it to be used for outdoor gigs during Freshers Week and at the end of term. In 2019 – before the pandemic hit – plans were made to refurbish and upgrade the structure, and these plans were realised in August 2020, again by Scenic Arts students. Rose Bruford College is the only drama school in London and the South East to have such a resource.

Josh Tweedy, a third year Stage and Events Management student, said,

I worked on Shakespeare’s: Midsummer Night’s Dream as a Deputy Stage Manager. My show was in promenade so we used the Dome for our opening scene and closing scene. The feeling of being back doing what I came to university to do is just amazing, to be lucky enough to be putting on productions with the horrible state our industry currently is in. The use of the Dome and outside performance spaces are going to be much more common in this new world and I believe the Dome is a vital performance space. I was very pleased with the whole process itself and I look forward to a busy year filled with many more productions here at Rose Bruford.”

2020 Freshers arrive on campus on Monday 19 October and will enjoy presentations from a panel of guest speakers consisting of alumni Aran Cherkez and Shaq B.Grant, alongside the founder of Black Blossoms Bolanle Tajudeen and independent film producers Damian Jones. Split across two days to comply with social distancing, the new students will get the opportunity to hear from these experts as they start their journey into the world of theatre, design, and entertainment at Rose Bruford College.

Steven Thorn, an RBC graduate and professional actor who returned to the college in 2018 to act as Industry Liaison for students and alumni, is also finalising plans for the ‘Invisible Fourth Year’ for graduates – ‘Bruford Connects’.

He explains, “The aim is for Rose Bruford College to continue to publicly support the career development of students in the year immediately after they graduate – offering them the opportunity to stay fully connected with the College by providing career advice, promoting any work in which they are appearing or working on and welcoming them to use College facilities at discounted rates.   We encourage them to contribute as much as they can to projects on campus with current students wherever possible. They are no longer studying with us, but we continue to support their growth.

This was a concept I had envisioned even before Covid19. Now, faced with an even more arduous struggle to attain recognition in their chosen field, I feel that the College can step up and offer more support than ever to our recent alumni…we are only as good as the reputation of our graduates. We aim to support them as much as we can in this transitional ‘4th’ year, as they realise our mission for them to become change makers of the future.”

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