NEWS: Royal Conservatoire of Scotland students stage a ‘mini season’ at the Citizens

The professional stage beckons for Royal Conservatoire of Scotland students who will perform at the Citizens Theatre this month and next.

Scotland’s national conservatoire will take a trio of drama productions to the Glasgow theatre in a ‘mini season’ which includes the annual On the Verge festival of innovative and experimental new works by Scotland’s freshest talent. On the Verge, at the Citizens Theatre for the first time, brings together performers of all ages and experience in an exciting and eclectic programme. Newcomers to the festival for 2017 include young actors from the Junior Conservatoire and students from the Royal Conservatoire’s BA Performance in British Sign Language and English programme, who will all make their On the Verge debut.

The Citizens Theatre will play host to:

  • Table (May 20, 22, 23 and 24) written for the National Theatre by Tanya Ronder and directed by Guy Hollands, Associate Director (Citizens Learning) at the Citizens Theatre.
  • Pleasure and Pain (May 31, June 1, 2 and 3): written and directed by Mark Thomson, former Royal Lyceum Theatre Company Artistic Director.
  • On the Verge (June 13-16): annual festival produced by Royal Conservatoire of Scotland graduate Alex Fthenakis.

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

“As Scotland’s national conservatoire, we are uniquely placed to partner with the finest national and regional arts companies to provide students with extraordinary learning experiences.

“The strength and quality of these special partnerships, which are embedded into the curriculum of each programme, are a distinctive and defining element of life at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, helping us to nurture the performing artists of tomorrow.”

Hugh Hodgart, Director of Drama, Dance, Production and Film, said:

“The partnership between the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the Citizens Theatre gives our students, of all ages, invaluable industry experience at one of the country’s most prominent, and progressive, theatres.

“Our unrivalled connections with creative professional partners like the Citizens Theatre put students at the heart of performance in Scotland, providing wonderful opportunities to work, learn and create alongside experts and artistic leaders, often in iconic venues.

“Our ‘mini season’ represents a new chapter in our long-standing relationship with the Citizens Theatre and we are especially delighted to be bringing such a range of contemporary material to Glasgow’s most exciting theatre.”

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland has enjoyed a long relationship with the Citizens Theatre, one of Scotland’s flagship producing theatres, which presents a mix of original Scottish drama and contemporary versions of classic plays. The theatre was officially constituted as the Citizens’ Company in 1943 by the playwright James Bridie. For the first few seasons before finding their current home in the city’s Gorbals, they performed in the Royal Conservatoire’s former premises on Buchanan Street, in the Athenaeum Theatre, and links between the two institutions have remained strong ever since. James Bridie was the primary force behind the foundation of the Royal Conservatoire’s College of Dramatic Art in 1950 under the directorship of Colin Chandler, which has grown into the School of Drama, Dance, Production and Film as it is today.

Dominic Hill, Artistic Director at the Citizens Theatre, said:

“I am delighted that the links between the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the Citizens are growing stronger and stronger. As so many of the people who perform on our stages were trained at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, it seems appropriate that the relationship between the theatre and actor starts as early as possible and I’m looking forward to seeing the students’ work in our building in the coming weeks.”

The first show at the Citizens Theatre in the Royal Conservatoire’s ‘mini season’ is Table (May 20, 22, 23 and 24) a piece written for the National Theatre by Tanya Ronder and directed by Guy Hollands, Associate Director (Citizens Learning) at the Citizens Theatre.

Six generations, twenty-three characters and one special piece of furniture, Ronder’s thrilling play is an epic tale of belonging, identity and the things we pass on. Constructed as an intriguing puzzle, it follows the shifting fortunes of the Best family on their travels around the world. This tour de force of assured storytelling encompasses one hundred years of a family and the table that is passed down the generations.

Pleasure and Pain (May 31, June 1, 2 and 3) is written and directed by former Royal Lyceum Theatre Company Artistic Director Mark Thomson and was originally produced at the Citizens Theatre 14 years ago. It returns to the venue with Thomson as director once again. It’s an evening with French writer Guy de Maupassant, charting his tragic journey from aspiring writer into the darkness of drug addiction and madness. Mark Thomson’s adaptation of Maupassant’s stories conjures up a florid and vivid world that reflects Maupassant’s own life and imagination.

On the Verge (June 13-16) has been part of the RCS performance calendar for nine years, during which time many of the performers and writers have gone on to tour their work nationally and internationally.

Described as ‘a small festival of big ideas and big ambition’, it’s an invitation for audiences to share in the original and exploratory processes of emerging artists from the Royal Conservatoire’s MA Classical and Contemporary Text, BA Acting and BA Performance in British Sign Language and English programmes, as well as young artists from the Junior Conservatoire Acting. The BA Performance in British Sign Language and English is the only performance undergraduate programme for deaf students in the UK, developed in association with Solar Bear Theatre Company. It teaches students to be both actors and makers of work, exploring the most innovative ways of creating performance through British Sign Language and English.

Junior Conservatoire Acting final year students, who are performing in On the Verge for the first time, have created a piece, The Choosing, a ‘tense, dystopian thriller’, directed by Andy McGregor. It opens on June 16 as part of On the Verge then has stand-alone matinee and evening performances at the Citizens on June 17.

Alex Fthenakis, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland graduate and producer of On the Verge, said:

“It’s exciting to partner with the Citizens Theatre for the first time for On the Verge which will showcase 21 dynamic and diverse new works, making it the largest incarnation of the festival to date.

“I’m also delighted to welcome students from the BA Performance in British Sign Language and English and the Junior Conservatoire Acting who will make their On the Verge debut.”

Ticket information:

Table and Pleasure and Pain tickets are available through the Citizens Theatre box office:

T: 0141 429 0022 / www.citz.co.uk

On the Verge tickets are available from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland box office:

T: 0141 332 5057 / www.rcs.ac.uk/boxoffice

Image: On the Verge team at the Citizens Theatre with Alex Fthenakis, far right.

Pic: Julie Howden/RCS.