Putting on a good show: the College of Arts and Performing Arts

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by Jennifer Hilder (PhD Intern)

The College of Art’s strengths in Performing Arts lie particularly in the field of music and theatre. As Dr Adrienne Scullion, from the School of Culture and Creative Arts, explained, the College’s experts in music and theatre engage actively, and passionately, with the performing arts ‘locally, nationally, and internationally’.

Original research done in the College has direct benefits for industry and cultural leaders, for policy makers and educators, and, not least, for audiences and consumers. The College’s research into historically informed performances has led to a commercial relationship with Linn Records to produce sound recording. Work on contemporary music and theatre practices has led to new performances and engagement with an international community of artists and producers, including the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the LIFT festival of new theatre in London. Excitingly, Dr Zoe Strachan has had great success writing opera libretti with composer Dr Nick Fells for Scottish Opera, producing Sublimation (2010) and The Lady of the Sea (2012), which showed to sell-out audiences.

Operas, shows and festivals are not the only ways the College engages with the public. With a more academic face, researchers have curated discussions around the National Library of Scotland’s exhibition of Modern Scottish Theatre, as well as programming The Arches’ Creative Commons events and delivering the high-profile public lecture series ‘Glasgow Lectures on Culture’, with Glasgow Life, which include ideas on the future of theatre in 2064.

Working directly with the music industry, the College teamed up with the University of Edinburgh and other partners to create the Live Music Exchange (LMX), an online hub for anyone interested in the live music industries. The website features blogs from industry insiders and academics, and provides training as well as events management.

Students also have various opportunities to work with and in the music and theatre industries themselves. Collaborative Doctoral Awards have given students the chance to contribute to the Glasgow Jazz Festival, Mull Theatre and the Tober Arts Centre. One College of Arts student prepared the performing material and researched the programme for Concerto Caledonia’s second Aldeburgh Residency in March 2013, called ‘Purcell’s Revenge’. Music Performance students, the University-affiliated choir Madrigirls and in-house recording staff have all benefitted from Dr David McGuinness’ role as music producer for the E4/Channel 4 programme Skins. You can listen to his beautiful Mini Mix from Skins Pure at the top of this post. A very successful programme of work placements for undergraduates and postgraduates has in each case led to the graduating student getting a job with their host organisation.

The College of Arts does so much for the Performing Arts scene in Glasgow and beyond, and we can perform for you, too – whether through a Collaborative Doctoral Award, or you’d like to support a student work placement, or you have an idea for a new show.

Post Author: Nicole Cassie

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