Spot­light on north-east as top arts school opens doors

Ex­clu­sive: Deal to train gen­er­a­tion of as­pir­ing mu­si­cians and per­form­ers

The Press and Journal (Highlands & Islands) - - News - BY JOSHUA KING

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

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