PASS Launches graduate Support programme

The college has partnered with Scottish Drama Training Network (SDTN) and Pleasance Theatre Trust to launch a new scheme to help acting graduates make the transition from training to industry.

SDTN, in partnership with the Pleasance, is establishing a new graduate pathway for colleges and higher education institutions as they make the transition from training to industry supported by leading theatre professionals, to produce new work at the Pleasance during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Edinburgh College performing arts lecturer Edward McGurn will be supporting the initiative in his role of assistant director.

The acclaimed Scottish theatre director Mark Thomson, former artistic director of the Lyceum Theatre Company, will work with SDTN to develop and direct a new graduate ensemble production for the Fringe 2017.

The SDTN Graduate Production Company will be a new industry-standard training pathway for drama graduates in 2017. Providing an essential post-training bridge for the performers and theatre technicians between education and beginning a career in the creative industries. This graduate initiative forms the latest programme supported by Pleasance Futures, the development arm of the Pleasance Theatre Trust.

The initiative is for the network’s colleges and higher education institutions and students from across Scotland who will graduate by July 2017, will be invited to audition for places in the Ensemble.

Lucy Vaughan, director of the SDTN, said: “Incredibly talented performers and theatre artists are trained each year in Scotland’s colleges and universities and it is often a challenge for graduates to make a start in the creative sector. With our new graduate ensemble, supported by leading theatre professionals, we are creating a new opportunity to shine a light on some of the talent emerging from our network, while providing them with an industry-standard context in which to create work and an opportunity to work with their peer group from across Scotland.”

Edinburgh College’s Performing Arts Studio Scotland (PASS) Theatre will host the ensemble during the rehearsal period and the production will run at the Pleasance for three weeks during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017.

Jakki Jeffery, head of Creative Industries at Edinburgh College, said: “The SDTN Graduate Production Company will give Scottish students a professional platform in which to showcase their skills during the annual Festival Fringe. PASS at Edinburgh College is absolutely thrilled to be hosting this at their Granton Campus in July 2017.”

Mark Thomson said: “There’s something very exciting about being at the very start of SDTN’s new venture that is looking to launch a new generation of creative young people emerging from Scotland.

“There’s a kind of freedom for me in working with emerging talent: maybe something about them having no limits or self-imposed bounds to how they use their imaginations. In an age of post truth the search for authenticity has never been more keen and perhaps that’s what I’m hoping to find in my group of talented emerging artists.”

Anthony Alderson, director of the Pleasance Theatre Trust, said: “The Pleasance is delighted to be partnering with SDTN to create this new young theatre company and to give Scottish graduates an opportunity to perform on a leading platform at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The route for any young person into work is difficult at present, particularly in the arts where opportunities seem more and more difficult to find. The Pleasance has been the launch pad for many great theatrical careers both on and off stage and this seems like the most natural of partnerships.”

The ensemble’s name and Fringe production will be announced in the spring.