A digital project will enable real-time collaboration across a consortium of six leading training institutions for performing artists.

Photo of performance in Virtual Conservatoire programme
Virtual Conservatoire performance at the Royal College of Music
Photo: 

Chris Christodoulou

Six of the largest drama schools and conservatoires in the country have joined forces on a pioneering digital project to enable real-time collaboration and “push the boundaries of performing arts training”.

London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA), Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, the Central School of Ballet and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) are among the institutions that have signed up to the four-year project, ‘Virtual Conservatoire’.

This will see them transform their facilities into “state of the art digital spaces”, allowing real-time collaboration between students and partners in multiple locations.

Support for the consortium, which also includes the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal College of Music, has been secured from the Higher Education Funding Council for England and the Office for Students Catalyst Fund.

The project says the result is a “new template” for conservatoire training, which offers digitally-enabled teaching and the ability to create live performance art across different locations.

Performance

To test the technology, students from across the conservatoires have been hosting a series of ‘scratch nights’ to develop work. This initiative will culminate in a formal production created with immersive theatre-makers, Raucous.

Two interconnected shows in two venues in different cities will be played simultaneously to two audiences to create a ‘dual perspective’ on a classic tale of Orpheus and Eurydice.

The show will be performed in Bristol and London this week, demonstrating the potential of the Virtual Conservatoire to combine multiple disciplines, including dance, music and drama, to “push the boundaries of development, performance and the audience’s experience of art”.

Sharon Clark, Creative Director for Raucous, commented: “This has been an extremely vibrant and vital project to work on with the Conservatoire – exploring how we can work with the schools to convey two distinct theatre stories which can ‘interrupt’ each other using live streaming.”

“It has been fascinating to create with students a live experience that can transform how they will think about performance in the future and how they can collaborate digitally to take their theatre making in new and unexpected directions. It has been a forward-thinking and bold artistic undertaking.”

The consortium plans to extend the reach of the Virtual Conservatoire in the future, using the programme to develop relationships with sector and industry partners and audiences globally. It is anticipated that audiences will be able to access performances and engage with online collections.

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