Conservatoire students celebrate Deaf Awareness Week

Students from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Students from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland are celebrating their place on the only degree programme for deaf performers in the UK this week, as part of Deaf Awareness Week (15–22 May).

The BA Performance in British Sign Language and English degree is a ground-breaking course offering opportunities for deaf students who aspire towards a career in the performing arts to receive conservatoire-level training at Scotland’s national conservatoire. The programme is delivered in partnership with Solar Bear, a Glasgow-based theatre company that works with deaf performers to create and promote inclusive theatre.

The inaugural intake in 2015 attracted applications from across the world with students from Australia, Romania and Scotland currently enrolled.

Professor Jeffrey Sharkey, Principal of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, is proud to lead the sector with this programme:

“RCS is recognised as one of the world’s top three performing arts conservatoires and as one of the most inclusive and diverse institutions in the UK. The BA Performance in BSL and English programme is an innovative example of how we are breaking down barriers for students who want to access the very best educational opportunities here at RCS.

Our culture is enriched when we share our expertise and stories together. Our vision for this programme is to remove barriers and help the performers achieve their full professional potential.”

Jonathon Lloyd, Creative Director/CEO of Solar Bear stated:

“Solar Bear’s partnership with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is pioneering. Between us we work hard to create accessible, high quality pathways for D/deaf talent into the theatre industry. More than that, the BA Performance in BSL and English is sowing the seeds for new ways of making theatre, and highlighting the amazing, creative opportunities of inclusive practice. It’s an exciting time.”

Jamie Rea is on the second year of the course. He says:

“This BA Performance degree is a fantastic opportunity for deaf people interested in performing careers – I consider it a once in a lifetime experience to be part of this course.”

The BA Performance students are about to enter their final year of training in September. To date, the students have publically performed an adaptation of Davey Anderson’s Scavengers and performed as part of New Dreams, the Shakespeare400 celebration with the University of Glasgow, Glasgow School of Art and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

The students will embark on a national tour of Love and Information in association with Solar Bear, performing to new audiences across Scotland in November.

More information about the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland – see website – tap here.