In addition to securing the future of some of the UK’s leading dance, drama and circus schools, the Conservatoire aims to foster creative exchange between these institutions and to offer students a range of different experiences of vocational training.
Each year there are a number of joint projects that take place across the Conservatoire. Scroll down for information on just some of the projects that have taken place so far:
Student collaborations between Circus Space and RADA (2012)
One of the great joys of being a member of the CDD has been the very real enthusiasm for cooperation and collaboration between staff – and between students – across the many disciplines that are embraced within the eight schools. And one of its greatest manifestations has been the joint activity that takes place twice a year between RADA’s technical programmes and Circus Space’s fantastic training. This has allowed the training of students on RADA’s Technical Theatre and Stage Management Course an opportunity to cue and prop, light and make sound for something very different from their normal RADA experience: with no words, just action to work from, the extension of skills is palpable – and the finished production supports the Circus Training to higher and higher levels (literally when it comes to high wire skills). It is, I believe, one of the Conservatoire’s finest achievements. - Neil Fraser, Director of Technical Training at RADA
This year, the Technical Stage Managers on Circus Space's third year production Multistory were students from RADA's Stage Management course. They talk about their experience in the video below.
In 2011, a group of second year students on the Circus Arts and Acting degree programmes at Circus Space and RADA spent a week together working with the text "Musicophilia" by Oliver Sacks. The students worked initially at RADA and for the second half of the week at Circus Space. Directed by Nona Shepphard, Associate Director at RADA, they put together a collaborative performance captured in the videos below (click on the images to view).
A section of this work was shown at the Conservatoire's Anniversary Gala in May 2011 - our first performer-performer artistic collaboration.
Research week (2009)
Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance invited a variety of very special guest artists to work with them during their Research Week in April 2009. This gave students the possibility to explore different ways of approaching dance in an intensive week, which was rich in performance related studies and creatively based workshops. One of the highlights was the opportunity to invite students from the Central School of Ballet to join in with various workshops that held a great mutual interest. Students from both schools were bowled over with the powerful presence and intimate insight that Esther Balfe gave into the work of William Forsythe. She spoke of Forsythe’s method of creative development in a workshop where students danced phrases of repertoire that were to be performed at Sadler’s Wells Theatre and Tate Modern over the course of the week.
Students from both affiliates also had the opportunity to delve deeply together into the study of dance solo work with Antonia Grove, in an initiative supported throughout the course of the year by the Joint Artistic Project Fund. A solo by the late Jeremy James was danced and studied in great depth as students were encouraged to find an individual performance quality drawing upon elements of the tangible, the obscure and the light and shade of human experience. A wonderfully exciting and stimulating week was enjoyed by all, as students now work toward integrating their various experiences into their ongoing dance practice.
Sequins and Sawdust (2007)
Sequins and Sawdust wove a tale of intrigue, deception and divided loyalty as the old and new generations of two families battle each other for the future of their famous circus. In March and April 2007, Circus Space, Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and Cirque Bijou, a Bristol-based circus production company, came together to create a circus performance over a three-week period in a touring circus environment. The project gave the students involved the opportunity to live a professional experience similar to one they might expect to have on leaving the course. The artists and others involved in the project lived, ate and slept on-site, in and around the circus tent for the duration of the devising and performance period.
Over 30 artists, musicians and technicians and support staff worked together to create a performance combining circus skills, live music, street theatre and comedy. Using a purpose built circus tent, they gave final performances in Bristol Castle Park over five nights and then travelled to London’s prestigious South Bank, complete with Big Top, for a further five performances. For more details on the event you can visit: www.sequinsandsawdust.co.uk
Master Oh T’ae Sok master classes (2006)
Based at RADA over two days in June and July 2006, Master Oh T’ae Sok gave two master classes. He spoke about his approach to acting and the physical tradition inspired by Shamanic ritual that he draws upon. Students worked with Master Oh on a 12-minute Hamlet, continuing the following day and performing the piece at the end of the session. Approximately 50 people attended these master classes.
As part of an ongoing relationship with Master Oh T’ae Sok, students from LAMDA, RADA and LCDS participated in a second workshop in December 2006. This was part of the Barbican’s BiTE festival, which showed Mokwha Repertory Company’s production of Romeo and Juliet directed by Oh T’ae Sok. Master Oh and members of the company led a morning’s workshop for students.
Siobhan Davies Dance Company residency (2005)
In March 2005, the Siobhan Davies Dance Company undertook a nine-day residency at The Place, home of London Contemporary Dance School. Students from London Contemporary Dance School, Northern School of Contemporary Dance and Central School of Ballet participated. The residency comprised classes, workshops and rehearsals, focused on the Company’s preparation of Bird Song (Siobhan Davies, 2004) for production. Mixed groups of students from the different schools took classes with one of five company members in the morning. During the afternoon session, staff and students were able to watch the company members rehearse the piece, culminating in a performance of Bird Song on the final day of the residency.
Other residencies have included Merce Cunningham Dance Company and Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company. To date these have consisted of sustained visits by the respective dance companies, bringing together students from two or more Conservatoire schools to work with company members and each other for a week or longer. Students take classes together and often work on material currently being created or re-staged by the choreographer.