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In schools and colleges all over the country, students interested in the Performing Arts are thinking about what their next step should be.
There have been lots of exciting developments in the performance subject area  at University Of The West Of Scotland in the past year.
We have formed a teaching partnership with the Gaiety Theatre in Ayr.
We have brought BA (Hons)Musical Theatre in-house to our £81 million campus in Ayr.
We have a brand new Technical Theatre Degree delivered through our partnership with the Gaiety .
Most importantly, all our Performance-based degrees are now 3 year Honours with entry levels at second year (Level 8) as well as third year (level 9).
All degrees require an audition, but students can apply to the courses in second year with :

3 Advanced Highers BCC or plus English at Higher level and Maths at Standard Grade 3 or above, National 4 or Intermediate 2.
3 A levels BBC or
An HNC (120 points) or
A B Tec 4 or
Intermediate 2 or
An International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma: 28 points.

All our degrees also have a level 9 entry with an HND or equivalent to our DRAMA UK recognised degrees.

With all this expansion, we want the best students to come to UWS Ayr. Every year , more and more students apply through UCAS, and the standard of work and quality of candidates is increasing.

Two of our students from Edinburgh College, Emily Barr and Jennie Walker have made a short video about life at UWS.
If you have any contacts at your old college or know of any British or Overseas students who might be interested in a 3 year honours degree, please share this post with them so that they can get an idea of what it’s like being a student at UWS Ayr.

Also, here are the links for anyone of your friends or relatives who may be specifically interested in our 3 years honours degrees.

BA(Hons) Musical Theatre

BA(Hons) Performance

BA(Hons) Contemporary Screen Acting

BA(Hons) Technical Theatre (subject to validation)…/technical_theatre_(3rd_year_entry)/

Please feel free to share this and spread the word to your old colleges , colleagues or friends. If you think that your old college would like a visit from UWS staff to talk to students, then please let us know too.
Any questions, email [email protected]


Celebrated Scottish actor David Hayman visited University of the West of Scotland’s Ayr Campus recently to take part in the UWS collaborative creative industries project, StudioLab.

StudioLab is an ongoing project where students from all the University’s programmes related to the Creative Industries collaborate together to create recorded work and closely replicates the work of the professional Creative Industries, where teams of different disciplines get together to create a final product.

Hayman was at the University’s state-of-the-art recording studios at its Ayr Campus on 11 March to record a live Q&A session with third year Contemporary Screen Acting and Performance students .

David Hayman, the founder of SpiritAid  urged acting students to “follow their dreams” when he visited the Campus. He enthralled the audience for over an hour telling them of his humble beginnings in the business, right up to recent work with Oscar Winners Michael Fassbender and Marilyn Cotillard.

David Hayman commented: “I was completely knocked over by the talent and enthusiasm of the students and the outstanding preforming and recording facilities at UWS in Ayr. I am already planning my next visit to follow up the wonderful work being done at UWS Ayr.”


The Photo above was taken by UWS Student Oliver Karaschewski .

It was an inspirational experience for students and staff which we recorded and will publish on our School Vimeo site.

Visits like these are an invaluable part of the process of the students gaining the skills, confidence and insights to enter the professional arena and we are planning more of these for the future. Watch this space for details.

Last week I enjoyed a wonderful UWS/Kelvin College production of Cats at the Scottish Youth Theatre in Glasgow.

I am delighted to pass on  this message  from my Musical Theatre Colleagues, Stephen Langston & Jane Robertson.

“You were probably aware of the sell out performances of Cats the musical by our 3rd and 4th year degree students in collaboration with Glasgow Kelvin College last week at the Scottish Youth Theatre. Such a shame if you missed it as it really was one of the most professional pieces of musical theatre we have ever produced. You can see a few photographs here

However, you’re in luck, because the same classes have also been preparing and rehearsing the Broadway and West End smash hit Avenue Q at the same time, and now we have triple the amount of seats in the theatre so you can all come and see it.

AVENUE Q is the story of Princeton, a bright-eyed college grad who comes to New York City with big dreams and a tiny bank account. He soon discovers that the only neighborhood in his price range is Avenue Q; still, the neighbors seem nice. There’s Brian the out-of-work comedian and his therapist fiancee Christmas Eve; Nicky the good-hearted slacker and his roommate Rod—a Republican investment banker who seems to have some sort of secret; an Internet addict called Trekkie Monster; and a very cute kindergarten teaching assistant named Kate. And would you believe the building’s superintendent is Gary Coleman?!? (Yes, that Gary Coleman.) Together, Princeton and his newfound friends struggle to find jobs, dates, and their ever-elusive purpose in life.

Avenue Q’s cast is a bit unusual. If you have not seen or heard of it before then you are in for a real treat. It is made up of Sesame Street style puppets (ours being the original West End and Broadway puppets). However, do not be fooled, these are not the safe, child like puppets we all know and love, they come with an age warning. A lot of their discussion, songs, monologues and action is based on adult themes. This show is not suitable for children as it contains adult material, however, it is one of the funniest shows I have seen on and off of the West End. If you want a really good night out then come along and see this. Its something you will never forget, and remember to leave the kids at home, no matter how tempted you are by the beautiful puppets.

All UWS, relatives and friends can buy tickets at the box office for the Gaiety Theatre, Ayr, for the concession price. Simply phone the box office, say you are UWS staff and pay for the tickets over the phone. You will be expected to produce your UWS badge when picking up the tickets on the night.

This show really is worth coming along to see, with a full size avenue Q set, the West End Puppets, a live band and the most wonderful cast of professional musical theatre students we have had. Hope to see you there. Ticket details enclosed, and now go visit this link which explains a wee bit about the show – Don’t be offended, it’s just theatre.

More info on Avenue Q at

Best wishes

Stephen Langston   and Jane Robertson. ”

Book Early, Book Often.

StudioLab is a unique crossover project which allows University Of The West Of Scotland  students from across  all programmes in the School Of Creative & Cultural Industries  to collaborate together to create a live recorded TV Programme.

Over the past  7 weeks, as part of their CSA Research Project, 4th Year Contemporary Screen Acting Students have been tasked with creating a 30-45 minute piece of TV Drama. They are devising , workshopping ,  and will finally  record this programme  live on Weds 11th December.

To do this requires the support and help of students from other programmes to chronicle and record the work. We will be continuing with StudioLab next Trimester at UWS so  if you are a student in the UWS School Of Creative & Cultural Industries and are Image interested in taking part as a Designer, Producer, Director, Runner, Camera Operator, Musician, Digital Artist, Screenwriter or whatever your chosen specialism may be, please come along to our first meeting.

Every Weds, 1.30 PM TV Studio 1, UWS Ayr.

Please email me at [email protected] to book a place.

Movement Artist Scott Houston at UWS Ayr Open Day

Thanks to the hard work of my UWS Colleague, John Quinn, we  are screening some of our students’ work at the Celluloid Wings film festival

The UWS showcase takes place on Monday the 2nd of September at 6:45 pm at The Gaiety Theatre Carrick St.  Ayr, South Ayrshire, KA7 1NU
TEL – 01292 288235

After the student showcase John Marzano is presenting his showreel then conducting a Q&A session. He has shot aerial footage for the Harry Potter films, Skyfall, World War Z, Thor The Dark World and other big movies, so he’s quite an intersting filmmaker.

Thanks also to Ashley Dick, who is an allumni of  UWS Creative and one of the  organisers of the festival, and who has informed me that UWS students can attend this event for free.

If you want to go all you need to do show up with your student card.

Should be an interesting night.

The search for Mairi Hedderwicke’s ” Katie Morag” is over. Glasgow schoolgirl, 7 year old Cherry Campbell,  will play the part in Move On Up TV’s new live action series for CBeebies  and BBC Childrens.Image

As far as the writing is concerned, the casting of Mairi Hedderwicke’s diminutive heroine completes a saga which began for me on a   wet Sunday in  November 2011, on the day of the Scottish BAFTA awards.  I was  meeting in a coffee bar with Don Coutts and Lindy Cameron of Move On Up TV . They asked if I was interested in the possible adaptation of the popular children’s series, Katie Morag, written and illustrated by Mairi Hedderwicke. I advised them that  I was a great fan of Mairi’s work , but that if the large number of episodes (it turned out to be 26) which needed to be written were to be successful, then they should consider using the Team Writing For TV method .

My colleagues and I , Dr John Quinn, Dr Gill Jamieson  and writer and actor Martin McCardie , have been developing the concept and practice of TWFTV through the module which we teach at University Of The West Of Scotland in Ayr . Over the past 5 years we have created a robust methodolgical approach to team writing which lays  down a series of crucial production steps designed to ensure that the concepts of theme, tone and  narrative coherence are successfully carried across the large number of episodes of a long running TV Series. Crucially,  it requires ALL writers to be present at ALL storylining sessions, and for detailed beat outlines to be created by the the entire storylining team. All team members have access to all others scripts and beat outlines, and the entire final product is then passed through the hands of a single lead writer. The lead writer’s  job  is to unify the entire process and reconcile production, narrative, and executive notes in order to create a coherent shooting script.

I am delighted  to report  that under the stewardship of Lindy and Don, along with lead writer Sergio Casci, and Script Exec Angela Galvin of the BBC, the Katie Morag team  have now brought the entire 26 Episode arc to a level ready for the production to go into principal photography at the end of April 2013. It is no mean feat to successfully bring  such a large scale project to fruition in such a relatively short time. I think that the Broadcasters should feel   indebted to Lindy and Don for whole-heartedly embracing the TWFTV process . At  times it would have been much easier, (and certainly less expensive)  to just send out spec outlines to a series of unconnected writers,  but they held to the plan , and I am confident that the final product will reflect this coherent approach.

Katie Morag is Produced by the Move On UP team of  Lindy Cameron,  Margaret Mathieson and Donald Coutts.   Donald Coutts  will also direct all 26 episodes. Apart from myself, the  series was scripted by  writers Sergio Casci, Martin McCardie , Jan Storie & Louise Wyllie.  Huge thanks also due to BBC’s Producers & Execs Angela Galvin, & Sarah Harkins . Angela was a key mover in the Team Writing Process, acting as the executive link between the writing team and the broadcasters and deserves huge credit for her role.

Katie Morag starts shooting in Lewis at the end of the month. I wish the entire team, the newly cast actors, and  especially Cherry Campbell all the very best for a successful shoot. We should see all 26 Episodes on CBeebies towards the end of the year.

Full details of the BBC Katie Morag Press Release can be found here

I am very proud to announce that the Student’s Association of the University Of The West Of Scotland last night awarded me the accolade of their 21st Century Teaching Award. This is voted for by students across the 4 UWS Campuses to recognise innovation in teaching and the use of the new technologies. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the students who voted for me.

I would also like to thank my colleagues within the Performance team at UWS , including Dr John Quinn, Jane Robertson, Jo Ronan, Dr David Overend, Martin McCardie, Michael Hines, Ashley Cowie, Keith Bird and Jamie Hare for their continued help and support. Many thanks to all.

21st Century Teaching & Harris Tweed.

21st Century Teaching & Harris Tweed.

Rehearsals  are well under way  for my new play “Marco Pantani: The Pirate”. The play  will be running at Oran Mor as part of the “Play , A Pie And A Pint”  series from May 13th -18th. It will  will also be presented at The Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock on Sunday 19th.

Details of bookings and ticket prices for Marco Pantani: The Pirate can be found online here.

The part of Italian Cyclist Marco Pantani will be taken by Scots Actor Jordan Young, who has just finished filming in Irvine Welsh’s new pic “Filth”.

The part of Tonina, his mother will be played by Blythe Duff, who has just returned from  an Off Broadway production of David Harrower’s “Good With People.”

The cast is completed by actor James Smillie, who has appeared in a a multitude of television shows and stage plays, both in the UK and Australia. His television credits include The Tomorrow PeopleAdventure IslandSpace: 1999ThrillerPrisoner: Cell Block H,

The play has a real UWS feel to it. Director David Overend is a lecturer in Performance, our Studio managers, Jamie Hare and Keith Bird  will be providing visuals, while UWS Radio Graduate Stuart Watt will be creating a bespoke soundscape using special recordings of cycle parts.  The production team is completed by  UWS Performance Graduand Deborah Lochran and Catriona Hepburn who studied Playwriting & Team Writing For Television at UWS.

Unknown Blythe

Jordan Young

Jordan Young


WINNER: The State of Greenock
Gavin Grant, David Newman, Pamela Barnes
University of the West of Scotland
UWS MA Creative Media Practice student work has won a BAFTA New Talent Award.

The film, ‘The State of Greenock’, was developed by Gavin Grant, David Newman and Pamela Barnes as part of their MA Creative Media Practice course work last year. Both Gavin and Pamela graduated from the programme in November, whilst David continues on the programme on a part-time basis.

The BAFTA New Talent Awards, took place on Thursday 21 March at Glasgow’s Òran Mór, to recognise and reward outstanding new practitioners in Scotland’s moving image industries.

MA Creative Media Practice student Gavin Grant said: “We’re all very proud that The State of Greenock has won the BAFTA Scotland New Talent Award. The news has come at an exciting time as we have just started filming a follow-up web series, which will pick up where the film left off.”

Anne Gifford, Head of the School of Creative and Cultural Industries, said: “This is fantastic news. The MA Creative Media Practice degree was newly launched in 2010 and already our students are making an impact on Scotland’s film and TV production.”

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