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#RWCMDCreative: Summer of inspiration

Welcome back to our new term. The College may have been out for the summer holidays, but that didn’t stop our students, graduates and staff from continuing to create and do amazing things. Take a look at our blog to see some of the things they've been up to over the summer.

We have to start with a huge llongyfarchiadau to all our new graduates who celebrated becoming our latest alumni at the end of last term. 

Croeso to the RWCMD community

And a big croeso to our new Fellows.

and to Michael Plaut, our new Chair and our newest board members.

Old Library, new vision

Welsh-American business giant, Sir Howard Stringer, made a hugely generous gift of £2m to the College, to help us restore and transform Cardiff's city centre.

‘We owe huge thanks to Sir Howard and Lady Stringer for this heartfelt and generous gift.

Extending the College out into this city centre building – directly opposite St David’s Hall – will provide an important extension of our teaching capacity and talent programmes.

Equally important, it also gives us a rare opportunity to offer flexible performance and workshop spaces and create a widely accessible cultural, artistic and educational hub for the public.’
Helena GauntPrincipal

Let's go Barbie

You can't have missed the fact that this summer has come with a definite shade of pink, so let's start with Design for Performance grad Emily Bates.

Emily, who was also a Linbury Prize finalist, was Junior Set Designer/Draughtsperson for the smash-hit 'Barbie' movie.

She did the drawings for the five different minature sets in the film, for Weird Barbie, Circus Suburbs, a Beach miniature for the beach buildings, a desert miniature - complete with Miniature pink Corvette - and a Busy Town miniature. 

You can see them in this YouTube film. 

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BBC Cardiff Singer of the World - Welsh finalist and RWCMD grad

It's always very special for us to welcome BBC Cardiff Singer of the World to the College but this year was especially so. In June, not only was Cardiff Singer celebrating its 40th year, but RWCMD graduate Jessica Robinson became the first Welsh singer in twenty years to reach the final.

Jessica Robinson, Charlotte Church, RWCMD Fellow April Koyejo-Audiger  and Lady Stringer at RWCMD annual dinner.

The winner takes it all

It was a double whammy for opera student Edward Kim, who not only won this year’s Sir Ian Stoutzker Prize, but also the heart of his true love.

He was so delighted with winning the College's prestigious award that he took the opportunity to propose to his girlfriend Weiying Sim.

It’s been an amazing year for them, with Edward also becoming the College’s first Sir Geraint Evans centenary scholar, and Weiying winning the Janet Price Opera Prize. Llongyfarchiadau mawr to them both. 

A legendary scholarship - the Julian Bream Trust award

Guitar student Luke Bartlett and recent grad Oliver Manning are the first RWCMD students to have been awarded the Julian Bream Trust scholarships.

After auditioning for none other than the legendary guitarist John Williams in London at the Royal Academy of Music, they’ve both been awarded full tuition fees for the forthcoming year.

Diolch Paula Gardiner 

In Jazz, and across College, we sadly said goodbye, and a huge thank you, to our Head of Jazz, Paula Gardiner with a celebratory AmserJazzTime. 

Paula has been at the College for nearly 23 years - and we look forward to welcoming her back as a JazzTime guest soon.

but it's a huge croeso to her successor Andrew Bain who joins us this term. You can read more about him in our press release. 

A summer of Welsh music and culture

As always this summer saw the College celebrating music and culture at festivals across Wales.

At the National Eisteddfod, the annual celebration of Welsh language and culture, Vocal postgraduate Elen Wyn presented a showcase on Welsh composer David Harries, accompanied by performances from Harp grad Cerys Rees and Zoe Smith, Head of Postgraduate Music Programmes.

Cerys also joined RWCMD Guitar student Cai Charles in a recital of Welsh solo music, with Cerys performing a set of three pieces written for her by Composer-Performer graduate Tomos Owen Jones. Tomos is coming back to College this year, joining our David Seligman Opera School.

Llongyfs to classical postgrad guitarist Cai, who won the Solo String competition for 19 and over, and was selected to compete for the prestigious Rhuban Glas award as one of the four best instrumentalists across all competing categories.

Cai Charles performing at the 2023 Eisteddfod

Cerys and Tomos had a busy summer, going on to the Fishguard Festival of Music, joining Aulus Duo (made up of last year’s postgrad students, Ellie Knott on flute, Georgina Dadson, who works regularly for Live Music Now, on guitar).

Alongside this was a tribute to two significant Welsh composers, David Harries and David Vaughan Thomas - where Zoe Smith and Tomos Owen Jones were joined by grads cellist Tabitha Selley and violinist Alice Apreda Howells.

Puppetry and community at Tafwyl

Design for Performance grads, Jodie Yates, Alexandra Kay and Dafydd Morgan, created and presented a puppetry promenade performance at this years Welsh language festival, Tafwyl.

The graduates performances at Tafwyl support the College’s aim to engage Welsh speaking communities and provide opportunities for work in the creative industries.
‘The student’s street performance style really added to the festival atmosphere, and they engaged with hundreds of children and adults alike over the weekend.

Tafwyl looks forward to continuing and developing this relationship with RWCMD by offering both creative and technical opportunities to students.’
Menter CaerdyddFestival organisers

National Youth Choir of Wales

The National Youth Choir of Wales brings together some of the brightest young actors, dancers, singers and musicians.

This year’s NCOW included a number of current, returning and new vocal students from RWCMD as well as students from our instrumental courses, performing works by recent Composition grads Oliver Trigg and Derri Lewis.

The choir’s Creative Team includes members of staff from our vocal department and our Director of Music, Tim Rhys-Evans, who's been the conductor of NYCW since 2018.

Arts Management students job success

Although Arts Management students don't finish their studies until the autumn, as usual many of them have already got work, and as usual they represent many different areas of the arts:

Joanna Phillips is Learning & Participation Assistant at The Philharmonia, helping to run its outreach projects across the country and working with school children, young professionals, adults and people with dementia in partnership with local authorities and orchestra members.

William Forrest has joined Bristol Cathedral as a Music Assistant...

Annabel Atkins is Social Media & Comms Officer at Rambert, and Gregor Spence is Philanthropy Officer in the Development team at Garsington Opera, one of Europe's leading festivals. One of his roles is working on a £14.5 million capital project to build Garsington Studios, as well as looking after membership and Trust and Foundations.

Many congratulations to all our Arts Management students and grads - we look forward to hearing more from you in your new careers. 

Designing worldwide - the Prague Quadrennial

As well as its annual Balance exhibition in Cardiff and London, some Design for Performance students also worked at the prestigious Prague Quadrennial celebration of scenography. 

Stage Management student Johanna Bunyan joined them.

Japan's entry, designed by Hiroko Matsuo , part of an initiative promoting social inclusion within theatre
'It was such a great experience for my learning and future career development, and it helped me to discover that I would love to work on live events in the future, which I hadn't considered before my trip.

Opportunities like this are so valuable because we're taught to specialise as we develop our training. Trying new aspects of theatre or events can introduce you to a new career path that you never knew you’d love. '
Johanna BunyanStage Management student

Stage Management: volunteering for the community

Stage Management student Grace Taylor volunteered on the Ethnic Minority Welsh Women Achievement Association Festival of Communities.

Working with Professor Meena Upadhyaya, Emerita Professor, Division of Cancer and Genetics at Cardiff University, the founder and chair of the awards, Grace managed the stage, liaised with the engineers and also worked with Rahim El Habachi, Creative Associate with National Theatre Wales.

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'It was a fantastic experience to be able to use my skills and passion for both the arts and stage management to assist Meena and her team showcase the talent of our city as well as be able to learn about different cultures.

The whole event felt very connected and I hope to be able to be part of something like this again.'
Grace TaylorStage Management student

From College to professional stage debut

Two acting grads have been nominated for The Stage Debut Awards 2023: Isobel Thom for her titular role in 'I, Joan' at Shakespeare’s Globe, which she performed straight after graduating last year. And Rhian Blundell, for her role in 'Let the Right One In', at Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester.

It'll be a bit of an RWCMD reunion as 2020 grad and award-winning actor Callum Scott Howells of 'It's a Sin' and 'Cabaret' fame, will be presenting at the awards on Sunday 1st October. 

Another actor to make their stage debut is MA actor Tanya Katyal, who graduated this July and walked straight into a lead role at the Royal Shakespeare Company. She played Rani Das, in its new production The Empress, to great acclaim.

Tanya Katyal in RSCs The Empress

In a 'uniformly outstanding' cast, which includes grad Anish Roy, also making his RSC debut, The Guardian review described Tanya's performance as 'an exact combination of vulnerability and defiance'. 

Musical Theatre news

We follow @royalwelshMT stories on instagram to keep up with Musical Theatre grads news:  MT shared that grad Dominique Skinner is appearing in Ainadamar at Welsh National Opera this season, having previously toured in the same production with Scottish Opera.

Eric Hallengren plays his first leading role as Nick Bottom, one of a pair of brothers in the new Renaissance comedy Something Rotten in Finland in September.

Both Sean Lewis and Ania Davies are supporting Lucie Jones live in concert and Tim Roberts is in the UK touring production of Tim Sheader's original production of 'Jesus Christ Superstar'. 

We could go on, but follow @royalwelshmt for more.

Musical Theatre's recent production of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

We'll stop for now - as it's start of our new academic year. 

Don't forget you can keep up with all #RWCMDCreative news on all the socials. And look out for our new TikTok Thursdays. 

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