Media Release: Outlander star, Sam Heughan, helps RCS in search for next generation of performing artists

(AMS) Outlander star Sam Heughan joins cast of alumni helping Royal Conservatoire of Scotland launch search for next generation of performing artists March 2017

SCOTLAND’S national conservatoire today (Thursday, March 9) kicks off its new drive for prospective students from all over Scotland and across the world hoping to follow in the footsteps of the institution’s celebrated alumni across music, drama, dance, film and the production arts.

The recruitment drive comes on the back of being ranked one of the top three performing arts educators in the world.

In its new prospectus, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, ranked number one in Scotland for graduate employability, showcases its world-class teaching, purpose-built facilities and a wide range of successful graduates who all have learnt their craft in this prestigious Glasgow-based institution.

Successful alumni of Scotland’s national conservatoire include actors James McAvoy, Sam Heughan, David Tennant, Alan Cumming and Katie Leung mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill, opera directors Sir David McVicar and Lee Blakely and Harry Potter composer Patrick Doyle. Their stories – along with those of many other graduates – feature in the prospectus and in associated video and digital content being released today.

Professor Jeffrey Sharkey, principal of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, said: “Scotland’s national conservatoire is one of the world’s top ten performing arts institutions, ranked alongside great international establishments such as New York’s Juilliard and the Vienna Conservatoire.

“Students come from across the globe to access the high quality education on offer right here in Glasgow.

“We offer students a distinctive learning experience along with a strong belief in the transformative power of the performing arts, which allows us to be one of the most inclusive, diverse and collaborative institutions within Scotland as well as internationally.

“We welcome students from across Scotland, the UK, Europe and beyond to begin their learning journeys with us in September 2018.”

Outlander star, Sam Heughan, says that the education he received at the Royal Conservatoire gave him the skills and the confidence to launch a successful acting career.

“I had a terrific experience at the Royal Conservatoire, being here on the stage is where it all began for me.

“My training gave me opportunities to work in Scotland, the UK and now in America where I spend a lot of time.

“The Royal Conservatoire knows and understands this industry, the teaching staff have great relationships and partnerships with national theatre companies, directors, agents and casting agents.”

Sam, 36, recalls his entrance audition: “I auditioned for the Royal Conservatoire twice. My first audition was very bad – I had no idea what I was doing but it instilled in me that I had to come back the next year and try again.

“If you don’t get in on your first attempt, it’s a test of character.

“In this industry, you need to learn to take on board productive criticism. I needed to work harder and come back better – so when I auditioned the second time, I was determined I was going to get in. The audition process is not as scary as you might think. It was a really rewarding experience and then when I was offered a place, it was sheer elation.

“Thanks to drama school I made a core group of friends so that no matter where I am in the world, there is always a contingent of Scottish actors and familiar faces.”

The full interview with the Outlander star is released online today:

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland teaches more than 1,100 students each year, from over 50 nationalities, studying across the six disciplines of music, dance, drama, production, film and education.

The Royal Conservatoire is committed to widening access to performing arts education and has established a number of award-winning initiatives to enable people from all walks of life and geographical locations to reach their full potential.

The 2018/9 prospectus is available online at or you can request a printed copy by contacting

Prospective students can visit the Royal Conservatoire by coming along to one of its open days later this year.

Find out more and book your place, go to

Also launching today is the prospectus for the highly-regarded Junior Conservatoire, whose patrons are actor, James McAvoy, and the violinist, Nicola Benedetti.

Each year, around 520 Junior conservatoire students from all over Scotland and the north of England attend weekly classes across the five performing arts disciplines – music, dance, drama, production and film.

With 11 courses to choose from, more than 40 performances each session and a bespoke scholarship fund of £37k, the Junior Conservatoire offers the most inclusive, diverse and distinctive performing arts curriculum in the country for 11-18 year-olds.

To receive a copy of the Junior Conservatoire prospectus, contact  or download a copy by at

Media contacts:

Linda Robertson – communications officer

Tel: +44 (0)141 270 8291


Mark Good – communications officer (Alumni)

Tel – +44 (0)141 270 8367


About the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

  • The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is ranked among the world’s top three for performing arts education (QS World Rankings) and is ranked number one in Scotland for graduate employability, endorsing its status as a national and international centre of excellence for the performing arts.
  • In 2017, the Royal Conservatoire is celebrating its 170th anniversary. During its existence, it has built on its roots as a national academy of music to become one of Europe’s most multi-disciplinary performing arts higher education centres, offering specialised teaching across music, drama, dance, film and production. The Royal Conservatoire is encouraging trans-disciplinary learning throughout its innovative curriculum and throughout 2017, the institution will host a series of performances and special events recognising its rich history and world-class reputation for performing arts education.
  • Around 1,100 students are currently pursuing degrees at the Royal Conservatoire across its specialisms. The Conservatoire works in partnership with the national companies, including the National Theatre of Scotland, Scottish Opera and BBC Scotland, to provide students with the very best learning experiences the Scottish landscape has to offer.
  • Our award-winning widening access initiative, Transitions 20/40, has shown that applicants applying to our undergraduate programmes via this initiative have a 6.8 per cent higher success rate than before (2016/17).
  • Based in the heart of Glasgow, the Royal Conservatoire is also a busy performing arts venue; it hosts more than 500 public performances each year and issues around 64,000 tickets from its box office annually. Additionally, the Royal Conservatoire teaches over 3,000 part-time learners every year through its Junior Conservatoire and lifelong learning departments.

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