Summer drama courses at Sabhal Mòr for budding actors and teachers
As part of the Memorandum of Understanding between Sabhal Mòr Ostaig and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, three drama schools will be held this summer. Actors and anyone interested in Gaelic drama will have the chance to improve their acting and teaching skills under the guidance of four renowned professionals who have a wealth of experience in performance, production and teaching.
The three summer schools are among the first of many initiatives planned under the memorandum where the Gaelic college and the Conservatoire will be promoting Gaelic culture and art together.
Teaching the courses will be Professor Maggie Kinloch, actor Arthur Donald, director Liz Carruthers, and Professor Jonothan Needlands. Maggie Kinloch is the Vice Principal at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. The first course, a ‘Drama Weekend Masterclass’, will be held on the weekend of 9th-10th June. The second course, ‘Acting: Gaelic Drama’, will be held between the 30th July and 3rd August. The final course, ‘Teaching acting through Gaelic’, will be held from the 6th to 10th August.
Professor Kinloch said: “The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Sabhal Mòr Ostaig have a strategic partnership which enables us to share delivery of a range of courses in music and in drama. This partnership is developing and will allow us this year to offer three short drama courses, and a further one in radio drama. I am delighted that these programmes are available and that together they represent part of the overall range of activities in which we are engaged, all of which are designed to grow the use of Gaelic in an imaginative and creative way. It is a beautiful and expressive language which has Scotland’s rich history stitched into every word. In our modern world there are many challenges to its survival and we hope that the work we are offering will play a major role, not only in securing its future but in inspiring and exciting artists and audiences alike, allowing us to recognise the creative opportunity it offers to us.”
Arthur Donald, Sabhal Mòr’s Drama Artist in Residence who will collaborate with the three guest tutors, said: “I’m really looking forward to Jonothan Needlands’ Drama Weekend Masterclass. He travels throughout the world teaching drama and I’m sure I will learn new techniques from his course. His masterclass is particularly aimed at those who are involved in teaching drama and who work in education and it will tie in with the Curriculum for Excellence. The course will be run bilingually and is a great chance to learn new skills. Maggie Kinloch’s course, ‘Teaching Drama through Gaelic’, is also great for people interested in teaching. I first met Maggie in 1987 at the beginning of my career in drama when I was at the Scottish Youth Theatre. I’ve been using the drama techniques I learnt then from Maggie ever since! Maggie is one of the foremost drama educationalists in the country and I’m delighted that she has committed to teach the course. She uses the teaching methods of Augusto Boal, which among other things ask people how they think they can make the most of each situation in which they find themselves, and this applies to the teachers and the students. Liz and I will be leading the third course, ‘Acting: Gaelic Drama’. Liz a nd I have been teaching acting skills for 20 years now, and this is the second time we will have taught together. The course is for anyone with an interest in drama, from community level to professionals. It’s open to anyone, no matter what previous experience they have, as the course will improve their acting skills even if they have never acted before, and it will give people confidence.”
Alasdair Mackay, Short Course manager at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig commented, “We are extremely pleased to be able to include drama once again as part of our Summer Short Course programme in collaboration with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Drama was for many years an integral part of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, with many of today’s recognised actors working in Gaelic drama having spent time at the College either as students or tutors. With the excellent quality of these new courses and the calibre of the tutors present, this is indeed a unique opportunity for those interested in drama to learn direct from experienced master practitioners and perhaps become the next generation of drama talent.”
Professor Maggie Kinloch has worked at a senior level in the Higher Education Drama Conservatoire sector throughout the UK since 1994 and has taught drama in secondary and special schools, been the Director of Drama at Glasgow Arts Centre and the Associate Director of TAG and Annexe theatre Companies. Arthur Donald is from Tiree originally and has been a professional actor for 20 years on stage, radio, television and in film. He is the Artistic Director for Fèisean nan Gàidheal’s drama summer schools and is the current Drama Artist in Residence at Sabhal Mòr. Liz Carruthers has directed professionally for over 25 years. She has directed numerous world premiers by new Scottish writers. She has been teaching at the Royal Conservatoire leading Audition preparation workshops for 7 years and been a member of the audition panel for 8 years. Professor Jonothan Neelands works in close partnership with Royal Shakespeare Company Education and is lead Academic for the new RSC/Warwick Teaching Shakespeare partnership. He has advised government on the training of talented young performers and is a Research Consultant for the National Council of Drama Training. He is Patron of the International Schools Theatre Association (ISTA).
Anyone interested in the courses can contact Alasdair MacKay on 01471 888242 or Alasdair.MacAoidh@groupwise.uhi.ac.uk