Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance was proud to be a contributor to the RSC Open Stages Project that aimed to ‘embrace, develop and celebrate amateur theatre, re-forging the bond with the world of professional theatre’ (RSC Open Stages).
Over 2011/2012 the RSC, in partnership with a number of regional theatres and amateur theatre associations, ran a national programme of skills sharing events and showcases, with amateur societies from across the UK invited to produce their own RSC-branded Shakespeare-themed productions.
Rose Bruford College was selected as one of the training centres, to create a tripartite team, which involved practitioners from the RSC, regional theatres and training institutions. RBC was asked to contribute workshops in acting and stage management, but also contributed to areas of stage design.
The College was invited to liaise with two regional theatres, The Questors Theatre in the South East, and The Nuffield Theatre, Southampton, in the South. These theatres worked with 57 and 26 amateur companies, respectively.
Our practitioners were invited also to participate in Skills Exchange weekends in Cardiff at The Sherman Theatre and The Welsh Academy of Drama and Music; in Glasgow at The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in collaboration with The National Theatre of Scotland; and at The Sage in Gateshead with Northumbria University.
The report of Open Stages 2011/12 is available for download from the RSC website here.
Open Stages 2011/12
In addition, the College’s involvement in the Open Stages Project comprises a research element under the aegis of the Centre. The skills workshops have been filmed in order to analyse methodologies employed by practitioners in their specific training disciplines and to ascertain the exercises’ appropriateness for encouraging the participants to not only experience the various strands of training, but also to apply them to their own rehearsals and approaches to working on Shakespeare, along with modern and contemporary drama.
Moreover, it enabled the College to forge links with amateur companies, and potentially provide further training for their members in the future; and to develop mutually beneficial relationships with the College’s practitioners and those in the selected professional theatres.
The outcomes of this research are being decided in consultation with the RSC, the Questors Theatre and the Nuffield Theatre, and with the permission of the amateur theatres involved. However, given that our practitioners have participated in several of the Skills Exchange weekends, we have valuable feedback from them already together with filmed excerpts of the workshops and some workshops filmed in full, and extended interviews with key members of the Open Stages Project.
More information about the ongoing project, Open Stages 2013-16: Celebrating Amateur Theatre, can be found on the RSC Website. And details of the Centre’s involvement will be posted in due course.