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The Performing Arts Hub’s first consideration is to strengthen cultural learning opportunities for students at the RSA Academies.  The RSA works with the Academies and a network of arts partners to support collaboration and test innovative methods that improve student and teacher outcomes. 

The concerns of the Hub also stretch beyond the immediate needs of the RSA Academies. Using the RSA as a platform for wider sectoral and public engagement, we will share our research findings with a wider audience of stakeholders - educators, policy-makers and the wider public. Through the activities delivered as part of the programme, we aim to strengthen the case for an arts-rich student experience, influencing local and system-level decision makers as well as public understanding.  

Embedding drama-based pedagogies in teaching Shakespeare

The Performing Arts Hub will support year round engagement between the RSA Academies and the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) to improve attainment in English and literacy, beginning in June 2016. For teachers this will include professional development in using drama-based pedagogies to teach Shakespeare and in delivering the RSC Arts Award Bronze qualification. RSA Academies students will have the chance to see a production at the RSC and attend a related workshop, as well as completing the RSC Arts Award Bronze.

Improving routes into creative and cultural careers

To support disadvantaged young people to access work in the cultural industries, as well as promoting greater diversity in these industries, the Performing Arts Hub will facilitate continued engagement between RSA Academies students and teachers and creative sector professionals. From KS3-KS5, a series of interconnected programmes will develop students’ knowledge, experience and readiness for careers in the cultural sector – as well as developing their skills for employability more generally.  Alongside this, RSA Academies teachers will have the opportunity to network with arts sector professionals at termly Creative Gatherings which will support their capacity to advise students on routes into, and careers within, the sector. 

Developing school identity and purpose through creative commissioning

The RSA Academies will work with the Birmingham Repertory Theatre to commission a play each year, beginning in 2016/17. Through the process of developing the play, which will integrate stories, language and ideas drawn from the schools into its text, individual schools and the RSA Academies family will articulate their sense of purpose and distinctive identity. The play will be produced separately by each school and performed at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, with professional theatre practitioners providing support and training for students and teachers who will take different roles within the production process. All aspects of the play’s production will be integrated into school curricula in English, Drama, Music, Art and Design and Design Technology, with the support of the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, allowing students with different interests from across the RSA Academies to be involved in the production process.

Developing school cultures of music making

Beginning in June 2016, students at the RSA Academies will have the opportunity to participate in instrumental and vocal ensembles led in partnership with professional music organisations. Through participating in the musical ensembles, students will have the chance to compose and arrange their own music, as well as to perform within school and at professional venues alongside students from the other RSA Academies.In the first year, teaching staff will receive professional training and work alongside music professionals to facilitate and lead the ensembles. From the second year onwards, teaching staff will lead the ensembles independently, offering each other support and guidance across the RSA Academies family.