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Posted 06.02.19

Plymouth College of Art appoints Colin Davey to lead new Performing & Production Arts course

By Phillip Buchan

Plymouth College of Art has appointed Colin Davey as Subject Leader for its new UAL Level 3 Extended Diploma in Performing & Production Arts for 16 to 19-year-olds, an A-Level equivalent course launching at Palace Court, the college’s pre-degree campus, in September 2019.

With an MA in Performance Training and training in Estill model voice techniques, Colin has held lecturing and teaching positions for a wide range of ages and experience levels at Plymouth Conservatoire, Plymouth Marjon University, Theatre Royal Plymouth, Exeter College, City College Plymouth and Sterts Theatre in Cornwall.

Colin’s past students have gone on to act in supporting roles in blockbuster films including Ready Player One and Kingsman 2: Golden Circle, as well as television series such as Guerilla (Sky Atlantic/Showtime) and Electric Dreams (Amazon/Channel Four). Students that Colin has taught have gone on to tour in theatre productions across China, Dubai and Spain.

In Colin’s work as a practicing actor, the vocal specialist, who grew up in North Prospect, is also currently working on a new performance scheduled to debut in The Lab at Theatre Royal Plymouth during July 2019. The LGBT+ themed performance is timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York.

Colin said: “I couldn’t be more excited about leading this new course, which will cover performance in its broadest sense. We’re going to move away from the strict focus of other performing arts courses that only look at singing, acting and dancing, by broadening our net to also encompass filmmaking, directing, storyboards and costume. Future performers need to offer more than the ability to perform a monologue from Macbeth, they need the skills that this course will teach – how to create professional opportunities and make careers for themselves without waiting to audition for somebody else’s play.

“There’s so much performance that already takes place at Palace Court, things like acting for the filmmakers, posing for the photographers and modelling for the costume students. Basing the new course in a dedicated campus alongside fashion designers, graphic designers and concept artists creates a myriad of opportunities for meaningful collaboration. I’ve taught comparable courses at a lot of venues and can say confidently that these opportunities for 16 to 19-year olds to collaborate, just as they will in their professional lives, are going to bring something unique to the region.



“This two-year course will include a professional performance in the Barbican Theatre at the end of the first year, a park-based outdoor theatre project with Stiltskin’s Soapbox Theatre, and will see students perform in Plymouth Fringe Festival as Plymouth College of Art becomes the third venue for fringe festival. The second year is even more exciting, giving students the freedom to generate their own project and see it through to completion.

“In practical terms, this means asking each student what their dream project could be. Somebody with an interest in travel and feminism might choose to interview 50 women about their experiences travelling and use that material to write three monologues, auditioning for peers to act out the parts, collaborate with costume students to design complementary costumes, enlist filmmakers to record the whole thing and then find a venue to host it all as a professional performance somewhere within the city. This is an incredible opportunity for 16 to 19-year-olds, more akin to the experience you’d have at degree-level than at A-Level.”

Taught at the college’s dedicated pre-degree campus alongside film, photography, fashion, illustration and graphic design students, this unique UAL Level 3 Extended Diploma in Performing & Production Arts will give young people in the South West an introduction to the art of drama and acting, as well as the process of design, production and delivery of a performance.

"As an independent theatre company, Stiltskin recognises the potential that Plymouth College of Art’s new course offers to students who wish to learn these many interdisciplinary skills; where you can find out what it takes to be a part of that team and discover the many exciting and varied career pathways within the performing arts."
– Jacqueline Slade, Executive/Artistic Director of Stiltskin’s Soapbox Theatre

From 2020 Plymouth College of Art’s Palace Court campus will act as a venue for Plymouth Fringe Festival, an annual week-long celebration of theatre and live performance. Attracting artists and theatre-makers from across the UK, the festival will offer students an opportunity to network with industry professionals and to produce and act in a live public performance.

Last year 42% of students at Plymouth College of Art obtained a distinction in their UAL Level 3 Extended Diplomas in Art & Design, leaving the college with the equivalent of three A*s at A-Level, or 168 UCAS points.

Designed to take advantage of and sit alongside the college’s other qualifications for 16 to 19-year-olds, the new course is now accepting applications for entry in September 2019. Young people and their families can find out more at the college’s upcoming pre-degree Open Evening on Wednesday 13 February from 6pm to 8pm or at the Open Day on Saturday 30 March from 12pm to 4pm.

Plymouth College of Art is a candidate school* for the International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme (IBCP) and pursuing authorization as an IB World School. From September 2019 the college hopes to give students the choice of studying the new Extended Diploma in Performing & Production Arts as either a standalone qualification or as part of the IBCP.

Jacqueline Slade, Executive/Artistic Director of Stiltskin’s Soapbox Theatre, said of the new course: “Whether you aspire to be a director, actor, set designer or costume maker, working in theatre, film or tv is a real team effort where every role creates the whole. As an independent theatre company, Stiltskin recognises the potential that Plymouth College of Art’s new course offers to students who wish to learn these many interdisciplinary skills; where you can find out what it takes to be a part of that team and discover the many exciting and varied career pathways within the performing arts.”

Natalie Piper of Pretty Furies Theatre Company said: “This dynamic and specialist programme will equip students with the diverse skills required to thrive in the ever-changing world of live arts production, while broadening understanding of what contemporary performance can be. Students will develop a range of production and performance techniques in a creative and professional environment, preparing the next generation of confident, groundbreaking performance-makers.”

*Only schools authorized by the International Baccalaureate can offer any of its four academic programmes: the Primary Years Programme (PYP), the Middle Years Programme (MYP), the Diploma Programme or the Career-related Programme (CP). Candidate status gives no guarantee that authorization will be granted. For further information about the IB and its programmes, visit www.ibo.org.  

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