The College, Merthyr Tydfil has recently introduced a Foundation Degree in Performing Arts and the first major production for students on the course was Shakespeare’s complex final play The Tempest.
Set in a dystopian future world, the striking set (created by Production Arts staff and students) reveals the husk of a crashed aeroplane which houses the vast surveillance equipment of the manipulative Prospero played by Ward Richards. The many screens fizzle to life (with the assistance of the Media and Photography departments) and the audience is provided with an insight in to how these characters have arrived on the ‘island'.
Director and course leader Andrew Thomas said, ‘the play was a popular choice as it features on the A-level English syllabus and allowed us to provide learners with a practical analysis of our contemporary interpretation of the text.' Workshops were held after the performance so that students in the audience from the college and local secondary schools, including Mountain Ash and Bishop Hedley, could understand the process of developing a text for the stage.
FD Performing Arts students were assisted in their character development by industry mentor Michael Waters from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Michael is currently working with several Performing Arts students on a professional production by Antic Theatre Company in Swansea.
The Performing Arts courses along with Creative Media, Film and Music have been based in the Redhouse since September 2013. Redhouse will open its doors to prospective Creative Industries students and their parents on Thursday 12th March, providing a tour of the building, a showcase of student work and the chance to receive advice and guidance on courses offered next year. Head of Division Chris Ford stated, ‘I hope that young creative people in Merthyr will be inspired by the work produced in Redhouse by college students and that they will come and see the unique opportunities available to them in September.'
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