The official announcement of the merger was made at a celebration event in Birmingham Town Hall, where students from both current institutions will come together to enjoy musical and dramatic performances. The event will conclude with an inaugural speech by Principal of the new Birmingham Conservatoire, Professor Julian Lloyd Webber.
The integration of these two institutions coincides with the opening of a new £57 million home for the current Birmingham Conservatoire on the University’s City Centre Campus later this year. It will sit just metres away from the current School of Acting and Birmingham City University’s wealth of media and recording facilities, including four TV studios and Europe’s largest static green screen.
The new Conservatoire will feature five public performance spaces, including a new concert hall for orchestral training and performance, private rehearsal and practice rooms, and teaching spaces for performers from a variety of disciplines.
Professor David Roberts, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media at Birmingham City University said: “We will continue to produce brilliant specialists in both acting and music but this merger emphasises the growing need for fluidity between disciplines – musicians able to draw on performance skills or promote their work across digital channels, or actors and set designers delivering performances where music and musicality are essential to the artistic results. Bringing together Birmingham Conservatoire and Birmingham School of Acting is a natural extension of the phenomenal new music teaching and performance spaces we are developing at our University’s City Centre campus, which will be located alongside our existing state-of-the-art production and recording facilities.”
Birmingham Conservatoire traces it roots back to 1859 and is one of the most respected music education institutions in the UK, devoted to the training of highly talented musicians in performance and composition.
Famous alumni include soul singer-songwriter Laura Mvula, baritone Rhydian Roberts and conductor Michael Seal.
Birmingham Conservatoire Principal, Professor Julian Lloyd Webber, said: “Our students are always at the heart of everything we do and this merger will give our graduates the best opportunities for future success in an increasingly competitive world. Working with the Birmingham School of Acting will strengthen our capacity to respond rapidly to the constantly changing needs of the industry and incorporate this directly into teaching practice.”
Birmingham School of Acting has been a City Centre institution since 1936 and now comprises 11 studios, including a large performance studio, setting a new benchmark for drama training facilities in the UK. Helen George, Catherine Tyldesley and Nicol Williamson are just some of the household names to have graduated from the School.
Professor Stephen Simms, Vice Principal – Acting, Birmingham Conservatoire, said: “Collaboration between our two institutions is already happening – for example, Conservatoire musicians compose and perform original music for graduate productions – but the merger will fuel many more exciting partnerships and unique opportunities for all our students.”