Media Release: Dream On! Ground-breaking creative partnership formed to celebrate the Shakespeare 400 on iconic Glasgow stage


FOUR of Scotland’s leading education and arts institutions are joining forces to create a unique collaboration of music, dance, drama and visual arts to celebrate the life, work and legacy of Shakespeare.

The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, The Glasgow School of Art, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the University of Glasgow, are coming together for the first time to create New Dreams, an ambitious, multi-arts experience spanning several months, combining performances, screenings, music and exhibitions, and involving hundreds of students, artists, designers, and academics.

New Dreams is a joint celebration of Shakespeare’s place at the heart of our world’s culture, inspiring successive generations of artists of all kinds. A wide range of new work will be created for the ambitious and ground-breaking project, all of it inspired by themes in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Leading Scottish theatre director, Graham McLaren, the man behind critically-acclaimed National Theatre of Scotland productions including The Tin Forest and In Time O’ Strife, has been appointed artistic director of the culmination of the festival a performance entitled Dream On!

McLaren will be curating and directing the work of students and professional artists and academics from all four partners in a multi-media immersive performance to be screened, performed and exhibited in the magnificent surroundings of the University of Glasgow’s Bute Hall and Cloisters on Saturday, 23 April 2016 – the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.

This will be one of his final projects in Scotland before taking up his new role as co-director of the Abbey Theatre in Dublin.

Graham McLaren, newly-appointed artistic director of ‘Dream On!’ said: “Thirty years ago I was taken to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (then RSAMD) by a wonderful, canny drama teacher to watch Shakespeare for free.

“I sat in the Old Athenaeum Theatre and, quite simply, a fire in me ignited and a lifelong love of this great institution started.

“You will understand then the real privilege I feel leading RCS students with such a remarkable array of local and international collaborators and artists in what is certain to be Scotland’s most significant response to celebrate Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary.”

Gavin Reid, director BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, said: “We believe this is one of the most ambitious Shakespeare celebrations taking place in Scotland next year and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra are proud to be partnered with some of Scotland’s most renowned creative institutions.”

Professor Tom Inns, director of The Glasgow School of Art, said: “The Glasgow School of Art is delighted to be a partner in this exciting collaboration working in collaboration with some of Glasgow’s leading academic institutions and performers.

“Glasgow is celebrated internationally as a centre of creativity. Our design students will employ cutting-edge techniques in the production giving the celebration a truly contemporary feel and ensuring the genius of Shakespeare’s work is communicated to the 21st century audience.”

Professor Jeffrey Sharkey, principal of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, said: “I’m delighted that students and staff from across the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland will be at the heart of this wonderful new celebration of Shakespeare created in partnership in Glasgow for people in the city, in Scotland and beyond to enjoy.

“This is one of the biggest and most collaborative celebrations of Shakespeare ever created and staged in Scotland.

“So, as the nation’s centre of excellence for performing arts education, it’s a real pleasure for RCS to be working in partnership with committed and talented students and colleagues from other world-class organisations and institutions to celebrate Shakespeare, to create something new and exciting and to showcase the rich diversity of international talent we have here in Glasgow.”

Professor Anton Muscatelli, principal of the University of Glasgow, said: “We are extremely proud to be hosting what will undoubtedly be a memorable event.

“The University of Glasgow will play centre stage in what will be a creative, inspiring evening of performance, dance and music. A fitting tribute to William Shakespeare on the 400th anniversary of his death.

“A man whose own artistic skills and creativity helped shape the English language and English literature around the world.

“One of our aims is always to make clear that the University of Glasgow is a resource for everyone. This fabulous event will showcase our wonderful buildings and open up our campus in a creative and inclusive way.”

Further details of the performances, screenings, exhibitions and events will be announced early in 2016.

Media enquiries to: Katie Bell 0141 270 8387

Notes to editors:

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is a national and international centre of excellence for the performing arts. Building on our roots in 1847 as a national academy of music, we are now one of Europe’s most multi-disciplinary performing arts higher education centres offering specialised teaching across music, drama, dance, film and production as well as encouraging trans-disciplinary learning throughout our innovative curriculum.

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra’s position as one of the pillars of Scotland’s musical life has been established steadily since it was founded in December 1935. Based at City Halls in Glasgow (since 2006), it is a key contributor to the BBC’s broadcasting and cultural role and performs to large and enthusiastic audiences in venues throughout Scotland, as well as carrying out a busy schedule of recordings, concerts and broadcasts for BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio Scotland, BBC television, and online. A past recipient of the Royal Philharmonic Society Award for best orchestra, the BBC SSO has made over 120 commercial recordings, many of which have received prizes, including four Gramophone Awards.

About the Glasgow School of Art

The Glasgow School of Art was founded in 1845 as one of the first Government Schools of Design, as a centre of creativity promoting good design for the manufacturing industries of Glasgow.  However, the School’s lineage can be traced to 1753, when Robert Foulis established a school of art and design in Glasgow, described as “the single most influential factor in the development of eighteenth-century Scottish art”. Today, The Glasgow School of Art (GSA) is internationally recognised as one of Europe’s leading university-level institutions for the visual creative disciplines.

Our studio-based approach to research and teaching brings disciplines together to explore problems in new ways to find new innovative solutions. The studio creates the environment for inter-disciplinary, peer learning, critical enquiry, experimentation and prototyping, helping to addressing many of the grand challenges confronting society and contemporary business.


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Contact: Katie Bell
Phone: 01412708387