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Using digital technology, to push the boundaries of performing arts training #FutureofEducation

Photographer credit: Chris Christodoulou
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UK’S TOP CONSERVATOIRES UNVEIL COLLABORATION ESTABLISHING NEW POTENTIAL FOR PERFORMING ARTS IN THE DIGITAL AGE

The UK’s leading Conservatoires today unveiled an ambitious project that has seen the institutions transform their facilities using digital technology, to push the boundaries of performing arts training and create new potential for live performance.

Entitled ‘Virtual Conservatoire’, the four-year project is a collaboration of Bristol Old Vic Theatre School (BOVTS), Central School of Ballet, London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA), Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), Royal Academy of Music (RAM) and Royal College of Music (RCM) and backed by HEFCE / Office for Students Catalyst Fund.

Together, the six Conservatoires are transforming their facilities into state-of-the-art digital spaces that enable creative collaboration between the consortium’s students and partners across multiple locations, in real time. The result is a new template for conservatoire training, which pioneers digitally enabled pedagogy and practice, and the scope to transform live performance art into a multi-location experience.

To test the cutting-edge technology, students from across the conservatoires hosted a series of ‘scratch nights’ that will culminate in a formal production created with immersive theatre makers, Raucous. The performance of ‘Otis and Eunice’ will see two interconnected shows played out simultaneously to two audiences, in two venues from two different cities, creating a dual perspective on the tale of Orpheus and Eurydice.

The show – which will be performed in Bristol and London on 29 and 30 March – demonstrates the potential of the ‘Virtual Conservatoire’ to bring together the best creative talent,  marry multiple disciplines, including dance, music and drama and push the boundaries of the development, performance and audience’s experience of art.

Sharon Clark, Creative Director for Raucous, says: “This has been an extremely vibrant and vital project to work on with the Conservatoire – exploring how we can work with the schools to convey two distinct theatre stories which can ‘interrupt’ each other using live streaming.

“It has been fascinating to create with students a live experience that can transform how they will think about performance in the future and how they can collaborate digitally to take their theatre making in new and unexpected directions. It has been a forward thinking and bold artistic undertaking.

Following the successful launch of the programme, the consortium plans to continue to extend the reach and impact of the ‘Virtual Conservatoire’.

The consortium will use the programme to create relationships with sector and industry partners and audiences globally, who will be able to access and experience learning and performance, enhanced by engagement with additional online collections and resources.

‘Otis and Eunice’ will be performed at The Royal College of Music and Bristol Old Vic on 29 and 30 March. Tickets are limited.

For more information and to book tickets, visit the Conservatoires Partners’ websites below.

Projector and lens were generously provided for the production by Anna Valley and AT Comms.

About Bristol Old Vic Theatre School: Founded by Laurence Olivier in 1946, Bristol Old Vic Theatre School is recognised as one of the country’s leading Conservatoire Drama Schools, training students in a professional environment for careers in the arts and entertainment industry. Operating on three specialist teaching sites and performing in the major producing theatre venues in Bristol, Bristol Old Vic Theatre School students are trained to the highest standards for direct entry into work in theatre, film and radio drama. 

About Central School of Ballet: A world-leading professional dance training organisation based in London.  Established in 1982, the school values the artistic expression in dance as well as the importance of technique.  Central offers a two year Foundation Degree in Professional Dance and Performance leading to a further year of training to complete a BA (Hons) degree, and a ballet-focused MA Choreography programme, all accredited by the University of Kent.  The organisation will realise its long-held goal of moving to new premises in the arts community South Bank in Southwark during the academic year 2019/2020.  

About Conservatoire for Dance and Drama: A collaboration among six member schools delivering world leading education and specialist vocational training in dance, drama, circus arts and production arts. Located at the heart of three vibrant cultural centres in London, Bristol and Leeds, the Conservatoire member schools are: Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Central School of Ballet, London Contemporary Dance School, National Centre for Circus Arts, Northern School of Contemporary Dance, and Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance. 

About London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art: Founded in 1861, LAMDA (London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art) is a world-leading conservatoire offering exceptional vocational training to actors, stage managers, technicians and directors. In 2017, LAMDA moved into its new £28.2 centre for world-leading drama training. LAMDA’s new home features ten large training and rehearsal studios, three theatres – the 200 seat Sainsbury Theatre, 120-seat the Carne Studio Theatre and the Linbury Studio, and a fully equipped digital and audio suite. In January 2018 LAMDA alumni Benedict Cumberbatch was appointed the Academy’s President. 

About Royal College of Music: Founded in 1882, the Royal College of Music (RCM) is a world leading music conservatoire with a prestigious history and contemporary outlook. Our 800 undergraduate and postgraduate students come from over 60 countries and are taught in a dynamic environment, leaving the RCM to become the outstanding performers, conductors and composers of the future. Among our alumni are composers and performers such as Sir Hubert Parry, Benjamin Britten, Gustav Holst, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Lord Lloyd Webber, Rebecca Clarke, Dame Joan Sutherland, Dame Sarah Connolly, Elizabeth Watts, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Mark-Anthony Turnage and Sir Thomas Allen.

About the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art(RADA): Offering vocational training for actors, stage managers, designers and technical stagecraft specialists. We pride ourselves in the exceptional standard of our facilities, teaching and productions, and the personalisation of our training tailored to the needs of each student. RADA was established in 1904 by renowned actor-manager Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree in rooms above His Majesty’s Theatre in the West End: an academy founded by the industry for the industry. We have maintained strong links with the performing arts industries ever since, and have built an outstanding reputation as a world-renowned centre of excellence. 

About the Royal Academy of Music: Training musicians to the highest professional standards since its foundation in 1822, every year some of the most talented young musicians from over 50 countries come to study here, attracted by renowned teachers and a rich culture that broadens musical horizons, develops professional creativity and fosters entrepreneurial spirit. For more information visit:

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