Theatre Royal Bath has launched an exciting and ambitious new partnership with Bath College. The newly-formed Bath Theatre Academy will offer students studying on the full-time Level 3 UAL Performing and Production Arts course at Bath College a unique curriculum that combines a practical introductory theatre programme with real-life industry experience.
The Performing and Production Arts course will be delivered at both the Theatre and the College, and is aimed at students aged 16 and over. Students will have weekly use of professional rehearsal studios as well as access to the world-renowned Theatre Royal Bath and its three dedicated performance spaces.
Theatre Bath chats to Jon Domaille, Head of Creative Arts and Enterprise at the City of Bath College and James Moore, Course Leader and Acting Head of Creative Learning at the Theatre Royal Bath to find out more.
Q1. Where did the idea to join forces come from and why?
The idea came from an initial conversation between James, as Head of Creative Learning at the Theatre Royal Bath, and Jon, who is Head of Department for Creative Arts and Enterprise at Bath College. The Creative Learning Department at the Theatre Royal Bath had just finished the second of this year’s visionary School Without residencies, involving two classes of primary school children who came to The Egg for a term to have lessons in the theatre and to ‘do school differently’. The team then started to ask the question ‘how would this work with further education?’ and it was at this point that James and Jon began a plan to combine the study of performing and production arts with the theatre’s knowledge and access to industry professionals.
Both the college and the Theatre Royal Bath are passionate about the education of young minds, and fostering a real love of theatre. The college is keen to work with the local community and local businesses, working to create initiatives like the Bath Academy of Business. Our shared vision and values led to a natural desire to combine our resources and expertise, forming a partnership to provide the best possible learning opportunities for young people.
Q2. What can potential students expect from the course? What will the structure of lessons look like? How many will be at the egg and the college etc?
The teaching will make use of the excellent facilities at the college and three auditoriums at the theatre. Students will use dance studios, recording studios and rehearsal spaces at the college alongside the working theatre space found at the Theatre Royal Bath.
Students will have access to Mac suites and the Learning Resources Centre for theory lessons and study time, as well as space to meet at The Egg café. We hope that students will see both venues as spaces for learning and theatre-making. Typical sessions will include practical workshops, sessions in reflective practice, performing and production arts theory, rehearsal and development.
Q3. How will the partnership enhance the experience of studying performing arts?
Studying the art of making theatre within a theatre, surrounded by industry professionals, will enhance the experience of any young person wishing to enter the industry. We are combining the understanding and excellence found at both institutions.
Q4. What makes this course a unique experience for young people?
There are only a few other examples of theatres working with arts organisations in such a significant way. The theatre will not just be a venue; it will become a new campus for students.
Q5. Will there be any links between the course and universities and any chances of progression to higher education for students who attend your course?
Both the college and the Theatre Royal Bath have links with universities, drama schools and other educational establishments – locally and nationally. Part of the structure of the course enables young people to prepare fully for their next steps into the industry. The tutors at the college and theatre will work individually with students to ensure they feel fully equipped to take the next steps in their career. The local area is also rich with opportunities for progression to higher education and jobs in the arts, and we will fully support this journey.
Q6. The UAL course is very different to the old BTEC course. What advantages will you be able to offer that a normal college-based course would not.
The Level 3 course that we are offering is designed by the University of Arts, London – the course is a vocational course which will challenge students, push them further in their knowledge and enable them to discover who they are as theatre makers.
- Dedicated teaching from a variety of active and leading industry professionals
- Access to the full suite of spaces and resources at Theatre Royal Bath
- Professional mentoring and career advice from industry insiders at the college and theatre.
- A clear line of progression from course to employment or further study
- A commitment to students’ routes into the industry
Both institutions are extremely excited about the course. As a former student at Bath College, James is also keen to work closely with Jon and the team at the College to make the course the best it can be.
Places are still available on the course, and applications for the Bath Theatre Academy can be made through the college – full details about the application process can be found online at www.bathcollege.ac.uk