Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance is to develop a new £3.5 million Centre for Digital Creation and Production with investment and support from industry partners, including leading companies such as; Autodesk, Cast Ltd., Disguise (formerly d3 Technologies), ETC (Electronic Theatre Controls) Ltd., Philips Lighting, Robe and White Light.

£940k funding for the project was also provided by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), through its Catalyst Fund. The investment will continue to be monitored by HEFCE’s successor, the Office for Students.

The Centre will build on the College’s existing technical production expertise in Lighting and Sound design, and extend this to include digital & immersive technologies, video design and engineering, content creation and visualisation; leading and influencing the development of advanced technological production and performance training.

In addition to new facilities and the creation of new undergraduate, postgraduate and short courses in a range of digital technology areas, the Centre will also be a bridge between industry and higher education, with an industry advisory group whose role will be to identify sector skills gaps and steer the development and technical direction of the Centre.

This development will place the work of the College at the forefront of contemporary practice in the live music, broadcast, corporate & live events, theatre and festival industries and support the demand for skilled practitioners in these growth sectors.

Nick Hunt, Head of School of Design, Management and Technical Arts explains:

“With investment from the College and our partners, we will be able to develop new and existing production facilities with advanced technical capabilities, to create a professional and industry-led learning environment.

This will not only drive the curriculum development for the next generation of industry practitioners, it will also enable established professionals to upskill in these rapidly evolving and dynamic specialist fields.”

In addition to the capital benefits of the grant, students will receive training by staff from the industry partners to work with and test the latest technology before they embark on their careers.

Lee Dennison, Head of Business Development at White Light, believes the new Centre for Digital Production is a much-needed addition to the technical teaching and education system for the live events industry:

“Rose Bruford College offers a leading example to other educational establishments, with regard to its teaching, engagement and willingness to change, move forward and challenge the conventional structure.

Our working environment is constantly changing with technical advances, client’s awareness and audience need for more and we welcome Rose Bruford College as a teaching establishment that embraces all of this.”

Final year BA (Hons) Creative Lighting Control student Ruben Plaza Garcia, who was recently the video designer for the Royal Gala Performance of Flight at the Royal Academy of Music, believes the close relationship with industry is bound to create network opportunities and help the career progression for current and prospective students:

“The new centre is a fantastic opportunity for students to work with the latest equipment from the leading companies and product developers. It will help them to build a skill set and knowledge base of real value to the professional environment, which will be more attractive to employers after they graduate.”

Clarie Middleton, Rose Bruford College’s Principal, believes the project to develop the Centre will help close the skills gap in the sector and create progression routes for the future workforce:

“Our sector is changing rapidly with new technologies and an increasing cross-over between theatre, live events and film, broadcast and recorded media. We know from our existing industry relationships that there is demand for the right kind of training in this area. The project also feeds into national, regional and local skills strategies as well as supporting the future growth and development of the College.

We are also keen to work with Further Education providers, through the Centre for Digital Production, to create progression routes into Higher Education and ultimately employment.”

The Centre will launch in Autumn 2018 with the curriculum and facilities developing over a 4-year period.

The College is interested in increasing the number of industry partners involved in the project. Interested parties who would like to discuss opportunities further are invited to e-mail [email protected]

Photograph credit:
Jake Wiltshire, Royal Academy of Music