Matthew Grouse
Matthew Grouse

Fund will help young talent Make It Happen

Some of the country’s most dynamic, creative young artists are to receive a kick-start to their careers, thanks to funding from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

The Make It Happen Fund will support 16 award recipients in a range of exciting projects as they embark upon professional artistic careers following their studies at Scotland’s national conservatoire, which is consistently recognised as one of the world’s top performing arts education institutions.

The £10,000 micro-funding initiative has awarded sums ranging from £250 to £750 following a competitive application process, supporting avenues like early stage development, the training and testing of ideas and the forming of new companies and collaborations.

Successful projects include the development of an audiovisual piece for performance at Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts, recording and production of an EP to showcase a new musical and a week-long development lab to develop a new piece of theatre.

Professor Jeffrey Sharkey, principal of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, said: ‘Creative performers and producers are at the forefront when it comes to transforming and enriching our society. As our graduates take their first steps into professional careers in the performing and production arts, support from Make It Happen could be the spark which helps to ignite a brilliant new idea for a piece of ground-breaking artistic practice.

‘Congratulations to all those who have been awarded funding and I look forward to seeing how their projects progress over the coming months.’

Make It Happen Fund recipients include:

Composer Matthew Grouse graduated with a Bachelor of Music (Honours) degree in 2018. He is being supported with a large scale audiovisual work in collaboration with visual artist Andy Sowerby, which will be presented by Cryptic at Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts in 2020. The Spectrum of Abstraction is a triptych that investigates the ways we process multi-sensory information, and how music can alter our interpretation of visual information and vice-versa. The project, which sees Matthew working with visual artist Andy Sowerby, challenges ocularcentrism in audiovisual work, instead exploring the haptic, where the eye and ear take on a quality of touching.

Matthew GrouseMatthew said: ‘I’m absolutely thrilled and incredibly grateful to be one of the first batch of awardees of the Make It Happen Fund. The work that the award will support is, in many respects, a completely new venture, allowing Andy and I to synthesise various media and forms of expression.

‘The funding will not only go towards technical delivery (including building projection screens and instruments), but it will also allow us to offer fair performance fees to the musicians and artists that we work with. Funding initiatives like this can ultimately lead to more financially equitable environments for artists who are just starting out.’

Claire Macallister is another graduate to receive funding from Make It Happen. The 2018 Masters in Classical and Contemporary Text alumna is being supported with development of show, Best Before, by her theatre company HISSYFIT. The show questions our core assumptions about virginity, consent, and about women’s resilience to barter against their own sexual currency, conceived while still students at RCS.

Claire said: ‘We are thrilled to have been given this opportunity from RCS to develop Best Before into a full show, one that will act as the inaugural production of our theatre company, HISSYFIT, and will utilise a variety of recent RCS graduates.

‘RCS has thoroughly committed itself to supporting their graduates in developing sustainable and engaging careers, and we are very thankful for the encouragement.’

Hereafter is site-specific theatre performance which is being developed by designer and BA Production Arts and Design graduate Alisa Kalyanova and director, Contemporary Performance Practice graduate Jack Nurse. The performance will take place in Jack’s home region of Dumfries and Galloway, focusing on reinterpreting traditional Scottish folktales to tell an urgent contemporary story.

Claire Macallister and Rebecca Robin from Hissyfit Theatre

Alisa said: ‘We are absolutely thrilled to be supported by Make It Happen fund. It will allow us to visit various sites across the region of Dumfries and Galloway and do an additional research and development session on the site. Jack and I are extremely grateful for this opportunity to take the project further.’

Master of Arts (Scottish Music) graduate Beccy Amphlett and Bachelor of Music (Traditional Music) alumna Lucie Hendry form duo, Aves o’ May, which began through their shared desire to bring music to audiences and communities across the country who do not get the opportunity to experience live folk music. The pair strongly believe in the therapeutic effect of music which is their driving force in sharing music that is uplifting, peaceful and joyful.

Lucie said: ‘We are absolutely delighted and very grateful to receive an award from the Make It Happen fund towards producing our first EP and music video as it will help in facilitating opportunities to share our music, both nationally and internationally, while allowing many people to experience the wonderful effect that music has holistically and socially. We are excited to explore the true impact that music can have in people’s lives and feel honoured that we will have a significant role in the experiences yet to come.’

Make It Happen Fund is a micro-funding initiative launched by the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Its purpose is to give the institution’s most recent graduates access to a competitive pot of seed funding to support their career goals and ambitions. The fund aims to create access to a source of funding that will support graduates’ early stage career development in a range of areas, including: training, networking, testing ideas, starting up companies, staging pop-up events and forming new collaborations.

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland adopts a range of approaches to the learning and teaching of enterprise and employability. Graduates are excellent and reflective arts practitioners who lead, achieve and innovate.

More information on Make It Happen is available on the RCS website.