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Edinburgh Fringe to premiere musical collaboration by Northwestern and Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Transatlantic project will produce new work written by alumni and performed by students

  • Northwestern’s David H. Bell and Royal Conservatoire’s Andrew Panton lead the international collaboration
  • Northwestern’s writing team includes alumni Christopher Anselmo, Ryan Bernsten and Desiree Staples  
  • Royal Conservatoire writers include alumni Claire McKenzie and Scott Gilmour 

EVANSTON --- The Edinburgh Festival Fringe will premiere two one-act musicals in 2017, the product of an exciting new transatlantic partnership between Northwestern University’s American Music Theatre Project (AMTP) and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, one of the world’s leading performing arts institutions.

The works will share a thematic connection and will be performed in repertory by students from Northwestern and the Royal Conservatoire as part of the three-week Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August.

David H. Bell, the Donald G. Robertson Director in Music Theatre and AMTP Artistic Director at Northwestern, and Andrew Panton, Artistic Director of Musical Theatre at the Royal Conservatoire, are leading the collaboration between the two groups of writers. The writers are Northwestern alumni Christopher Anselmo, Ryan Bernsten and Desiree Staples and Royal Conservatoire alumni Claire McKenzie and Scott Gilmour, who launched their own musical theatre company, Noisemaker, in 2012.

"The creation of music theatre has, like everything else in the 21st century, become a global opportunity” said Bell. “I am honored on behalf of the American Music Theatre Project and Northwestern University to partner with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland to create two theatre pieces that explore similar themes from two very different national perspectives. It is thrilling that both pieces will play together at the most revered international theatre festival in the world, and we hope that through these musicals we can discover more about each other and ourselves and get to explore new methods of collaboration in creating music theatre stories.”

“Our new partnership with Northwestern’s American Music Theatre Project breathes new life into the way we educate and develop the next generation of musical theatre directors and performers,” said Professor Jeffrey Sharkey, Principal of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. “We are bringing together first-class students and internationally renowned teaching staff from both institutions to create and produce specially written musical theatre for an international audience. This partnership will allow us to amplify our already successful performances and extend our international reach. I am thrilled to partner with such an impressive team at AMTP as they share our core values of excellence and passion for performance. This new relationship brings to life our ambition to develop a truly integrated collaboration, opening up new experiences and opportunities for the future.”

The two institutions launched the partnership this month with a developmental workshop at the Royal Conservatoire in Glasgow. Another workshop will take place at Northwestern University in May, before rehearsals for the productions begin in July for the August premieres in Edinburgh.

About the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

  • The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is ranked sixth in the world for performing arts education 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 of Scotland is celebrating its 170th birthday. During its existence, it has built on its roots as a national academy of music to become one of Europe’s most multidisciplinary performing arts higher education centers, offering specialized teaching across music, drama, dance, production and film. The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is encouraging transdisciplinary learning throughout its innovative curriculum.
  • Around 1,100 students are currently pursuing degrees at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland across its specialisms. The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland 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.
  • Based in the heart of Glasgow, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland 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 of Scotland teaches over 3,000 part-time learners every year through its Junior Conservatoire and Lifelong Learning departments.
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About the American Music Theatre Project:

  • The American Music Theatre Project (AMTP) at Northwestern University brings together the nation’s leading artists in music theatre to nourish and invigorate American music theatre by developing and producing new musicals; increasing opportunities for education and training with Northwestern’s theatre, music theatre and dance programs; and creating new connections between professional and academic communities.
  • Past AMTP musicals include “Found,” “Hero,” “Next Thing You Know” and “Edges,” and previous guest artists include Andrew Lippa, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, Michael Friedman, Michael Greif, Sheldon Harnick, Hunter Bell, Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil.
  • Since 2005, AMTP has hosted the Johnny Mercer Foundation Songwriters Project, a weeklong training intensive for emerging professional songwriters in all genres held annually each June on Northwestern’s Evanston campus. The highly competitive program attracts applicants from around the world and invites 12 songwriters or songwriting teams to spend a week in residence working with three award-winning professional master teachers. Past participants include Golden Globe winners and Tony Award-nominated Benj Pasek and Justin Paul; Fred Ebb Award winner Sam Willmott; Jonathan Larson Award winner Nikko Benson; and Latin Grammy Award winners Obed Bermudez and Jennifer Peña.
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The American Music Theatre Project (AMTP) at Northwestern University is a member of the Northwestern Arts Circle which brings together film, humanities, literary arts, music, theatre, dance and visual arts.  

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