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New courses for aspiring theatre artists

Posted Sunday 4 October 2009

World-renowned theatre director and University Chancellor Sir Peter Hall and The Rose Theatre’s Artistic Director Stephen Unwin believe the new courses will enhance training for the next generation of artists. (Photo by Chris Pearsall) Aspiring theatre-makers, actors, directors and designers who want to make professional, cutting-edge performances are benefitting from two groundbreaking new courses. Kingston University, London, has teamed up with the Rose Theatre, Kingston, to offer MAs in Classical Theatre and Making Plays which will be taught by university staff at the theatre. Developed from a proposal originally created by world-renowned theatre director, Sir Peter Hall, students on the MA in Classical Theatre will explore what classical theatre is through a range of theoretical and practical work. Meanwhile the MA in Making Plays course will teach practical techniques for creating productions and look at the historical, ideological and critical contexts in which the traditions of writing and devising for stage have evolved.

Students will benefit from lectures by leading figures in the theatre industry and state-of-the-art facilities at the town's theatre including its studio where the courses are based. Sir Peter, who is also Chancellor of Kingston University and Director Emeritus of The Rose Theatre, recently welcomed the students to the opening of the new courses. His welcome was followed by a session from Deborah Bruce, who directed Helen by Euripides in a new version by Frank McGuinness at the Globe this summer.

Kingston University Professor of Drama Colin Chambers - a former theatre critic and Literary Manager of the Royal Shakespeare Company - will lead the new course. "Having access to a professional theatre and a range of talented experts from the acting world will be extremely beneficial for students," he said. "These courses are very practical and creative and our students will be writing and creating pieces of performance from the very start."

MA Classical Theatre students from left to right Rachel Bellis, Michael Humphries, Maria Margiotta, Sarah Palette, James Ellis, Jasmine Cole, Philippa Bermingham, Hannah Platts, Laura Lee, Sarah Hooppell, Fiona Lewis, Anne Skorzewski with theatre director Deborah Bruce.Sir Peter believes the new courses represent a great hope for the future. "This is an important stepping stone in the history of Kingston's Rose Theatre and its partnership with the university," he said. "It is a unique initiative and an important collaboration in the training of young people to work in the professional theatre and it is also something that I have wanted to see develop from the very beginning of my involvement with the Rose project. These special MA courses mark an exciting new beginning."

The Rose Theatre's Artistic Director Stephen Unwin identified the collaboration between the university and the theatre as unique and invaluable and said the new MAs helped the two organisations to work together further. "We are thrilled to be working in partnership with Kingston University on this groundbreaking new MA programme," he said. "Historically there has been a vast distance between the artist in training and the professional theatre world. This programme is an important first step in bridging that gap. We hope that this next generation of artists will be more skilled, innovative and confident as a result of this extraordinary experience."

Some students from the course, who are part of the Kingston University Dance and Drama on Stage group, will perform in Mr Unwin's production of Miss Julie which opens at the Rose on the 8 October.

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