Students at Hugh Baird College are set to benefit from a brand new multi-purpose performance studio, based within the new £8million L20 Building.
The news comes as the college's performing arts department recently launched an extended package of courses giving students an exclusive opportunity to run their own theatre company. Performing Arts programme manager Nathan Marsh said it is an exciting time for the college which will be able to offer students a greater learning experience.
“We are now on the cusp of moving into cutting edge performance studio in the new L20 Building,” said Mr Marsh. “The building is due to be completed very soon and everyone at the college is eagerly awaiting its arrival. The new facility will be used across departments and it will be of particular benefit to our acting, dance and music students. It will enhance the teaching and learning experience with students able to hone, practice and perfect their skills.”
The new L20 Building, located opposite the college's main Balliol Road campus, will be used mainly for Higher Education provision.
Mr Marsh said the Performing Arts department is seeing greater demand for courses than ever before. The new development further coincides with the launch of new and unique university courses, including Foundation and BA Hons top up degrees in Creating Performance.
“These new courses, validated by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), present a terrific opportunity for students,” said Mr Marsh. “A core focus will see them setting up and running their own theatre company. Students will be responsible for delivering programmes and content, directing performances, engaging communities and booking venues to tour regionally.
“This unique idea is part of Hugh Baird College's broader ambition to encourage an entrepreneurial spirit amongst students,” said Mr Marsh. We expect to see this blueprint for student-run businesses replicated in other departments. Our mission is to equip students with a complete set of skills, outside the ordinary syllabus, to enable them to be successful in industry. We want them to have the wherewithal to thrive when they leave. This includes understanding the dynamics of running a theatre company and crucial aspects like how to apply for grants and manage the day to day running of a company.”
The performing arts department has five dedicated staff and six classes of students. Further courses include Performing Arts Acting and Dance pathway BTEC Diploma Level 2 and Performing Arts Acting and Dance BTEC Extended Diploma Level 3.
Tuition cover a broad range of areas including professional development, production processes, acting skills and technique, rehearsing for performance, directing, administration, touring and contemporary theatre studies. Mr Marsh said all tutors have experience working as professional actors, dancers and directors.
“We are passionate about passing on skills and knowledge to the next generation,” he said. “Our aim is create a stimulating and uninhibited working environment to encourage students to explore new techniques and ideas. We are now looking forward to a packed upcoming schedule of live performances for students to hone their skills in front of audiences. With our home in the new building and expanded course offering we have strong ambitions to be recognised as a centre of excellence for performing arts.”