Media Release: Ground-breaking arts partnership for young people launched by Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Dumfries House

AMS - Ballet dancers Hanna Eden and Jake Davies celebrate the launch of historic partnership with Dumfries House

DUMFRIES House and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS) will today (Thursday June 23 2016) announce an unique partnership that will create a new arts education programme giving young people the opportunity to access high-quality, specialist dance and music tuition.

Today’s launch celebration involving young musicians and dancers will be attended by His Royal Highness, The Duke of Rothesay, patron of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

This ground-breaking partnership aims to provide young people with the resources and learning pathways to help them excel in their chosen art forms such as music and dance.

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland at Dumfries House will offer arts education, performance and employment opportunities, as well as building strong artistic foundations for the people and communities of Scotland.

An innovative widening access programme, which is set to work with its first students from September 2016, the Royal Conservatoire at Dumfries House will engage a diverse range of individuals from pre-school age, as well as community groups and arts professionals keen to develop their pedagogical skills to inspire excellence in performing arts education.   

Professor Jeffrey Sharkey, principal of RCS, said: “I believe that there is something particularly distinctive about the work of RCS and at its heart is our role as a national and international institution for the whole of Scotland.

“That is why I am delighted that the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Dumfries House have taken this bold step to educate a new generation of artists for Scotland and beyond. I can think of no better learning environment for aspiring performers, communities and professionals than in the wonderful setting of Dumfries House.”

Kenneth Dunsmuir, administrative director of Dumfries House, commented: “It was very evident to HRH The Duke of Rothesay that, despite the many community, educational and employment initiatives we had developed here on the Dumfries House Estate, the performing arts were not represented.

“Being patron of RCS, creating a hub here for performance and outreach work seemed the perfect partnership. As an alumnus of RCS (then RSAMD), I feel hugely privileged to have played a part in developing this new initiative knowing the transformative power that the performing arts can have on people’s lives.”

International composer and founder of The Cumnock Tryst, Sir James MacMillan, welcomes this new initiative: “It is with immense excitement that I welcome this new partnership between Dumfries House and RCS.

“As someone who grew up in Cumnock and now having established the music festival, The Cumnock Tryst, it is a source of great satisfaction and pride seeing these two marvellous institutions coming together to build towards the artistic future of the local area.

“Music has always been an important element in the local towns and villages, and this new initiative will cement that, while pushing the potential forward.”

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland at Dumfries House begins in September 2016 with a series of Junior Conservatoire workshops planned for local schools.

During the first two years of the partnership, there will be a programme of concerts and performances at Dumfries House showcasing a variety of musical forms including: chamber music, classical repertoire, traditional music and jazz, evolving over time to include other art forms such as ballet, musical theatre, drama and contemporary performance, reflecting the diversity of work offered at RCS.

This bold new partnership also aims to bring international artists to Dumfries House, and attract performers from across the world to learn in Ayrshire’s newest centre of excellence.

Both the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Dumfries House hope this new partnership will harness the transformative power of the performing arts, to nurture and inspire the young people of Scotland, their communities and open up the positive social, wellbeing and employability benefits which only the arts can offer.

Media contact:

Katie Bell


(t)   0141 270 8387

(m) 07834 785014

Notes to editors:

About the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is ranked sixth in the world for performing arts education (QS World Rankings 2016). The Conservatoire 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.

We are bold, ambitious and optimistic about our future as a truly 21stcentury conservatoire. As we work towards 2020, our goal, through our students, staff and graduates, is to raise the transformative power and reach of the performing arts in Scotland and to project our distinctiveness to the wider world.

Our vision is to be Scotland’s globally-recognised and inspirational leader in learning for the performing arts, attracting and nurturing the best Scottish and international creative talent.

About Dumfries House

Dumfries House was built for William Crichton-Dalrymple, the 5th Earl of Dumfries between 1754 and 1759. The House remains one of the Adam brothers’ – and most importantly, Robert Adam’s – earliest architectural commissions. Dumfries House, its entire contents and a 2,000-acre estate were dramatically saved from sale in 2007 by a consortium of charitable bodies led by HRH The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay. Taking its title from one of the Prince’s official titles in Scotland, the Great Steward of Scotland’s Dumfries House Trust was created to manage the House and Estate. Opened to the public for the first time in June 2008, Dumfries House continues to delight and amaze visitors from all over the world.

For more information about Dumfries House, visit


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RCS contact details…

Contact: Katie Bell
Phone: 0141 270 8387