Spotlight on north-east as top arts school opens doors
Exclusive: Deal to train generation of aspiring musicians and performers
One of the world’s best performing arts schools is to open its doors to the northeast in a move that will help disadvantaged children realise their dreams.
The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Aberdeenshire Council yesterday announced a “groundbreaking” deal to train the next generation of elite musicians and performers closer to their homes.
Aspiring youngsters currently have to travel to Glasgow to receive training from the academy which has taught Scottish greats such as Robert Carlyle, James McAvoy and David Tennant.
But plans have now been put in place to open a new centre at Fraserburgh’s Dalrymple Hall.
The move follows the success of the Royal Conservatoire’s first “fair access” arts centre launched at Dumfries House in Ayrshire last summer, with the support of Prince Charles.
The deal, which was struck at yesterday’s meeting of the region’s education committee, means local youngsters will have access to the Junior Conservatoire programmes in music, dance, acting and film.
The initial agreement is for a three- year programme in Fraserburgh and Aberdeenshire with an annual contribution set at £45,000.
The programme also opens up the award-winning Transitions 20/40 initiative which offers performing arts education to young people in the most disadvantaged parts of Scotland.
Existing facilities in the town – including the academy, college campus, sports centre and dance studio and the Dalrymple arts centre– will be used for the scheme.
Speaking to the committee at Woodhill House in Aberdeen, Royal Conservatoire director of academic innovation Andrew Comrie said: “We know living rurally is a barrier for young people to access what we have to offer.
“It prevents people with ambition to study in the arts to an elite level from doing so. There are many people who simply cannot afford to pay for it. They may have talent, ability and a dream but cannot afford to achieve it.”
Training will be offered for free to students who are from the 20% most deprived backgrounds orwho have grown up in care.
Mr Comrie’s presentation was roundly welcomed by councillors.
Council co-leader Alison Evison said: “This is an incredibly exciting moment for Fraserburgh and Aberdeenshire.”
And councillor Isobel Davidson, education spokeswoman for the opposition Alliance group, added: “This is a great initiative and will be a great asset for Fraserburgh.”
MUSIC TO OUR EARS: Talented youngsters will be trained in Fraserburgh as the Royal Conservatoire opens a new centre