Page last updated at 00:22 GMT, Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Drama training network announced

RSAMD
The RSAMD will lead the new training network

A national drama training network is to be set up following a major review of the arts in Scotland.

The Scottish Stage and Screen Network will be led by the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, which will also receive extra funding.

The Scottish Funding Council said the network would be set up in February with a head appointed in the spring.

It follows a campaign about Scotland's drama provision, backed by famous graduates such as actor James McAvoy.

The Scottish Funding Council will invest funds in the new network, which will bring together existing courses in Glasgow and Edinburgh and expand courses in film-making, technical skills, costume making and acting.

Drama and the creative industries contribute not only to our culture and society but also form a key sector in Scotland's economy
Mark Batho
Scottish Funding Council
There will also be a new drama course in Edinburgh linking Queen Margaret University with Napier University and Edinburgh College of Art.

The news has been welcomed by the academy (RSAMD), whose Principal John Wallace described it as a "milestone" in Scottish drama.

"This latest announcement will ensure that we can provide the highest level of training in Scotland."

Chief executive of the Scottish Funding Council Mark Batho said: "Drama and the creative industries contribute not only to our culture and society but also form a key sector in Scotland's economy."

Earlier this year the RSAMD restructured its departments as part of an efficiency drive.

'World-class drama'

There followed a high-profile campaign protesting at the possibility of cuts, supported by actors such as James McAvoy and David Tennant.

Mr McAvoy was one of a group of actors and musicians who wrote to the first minister in May asking the Scottish Government to intervene to safeguard the academy.

Responding to the announcement, Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: "The Scottish Government has made clear that maintaining world-class drama provision in Scotland is one of out top priorities and I therefore welcome this positive initiative by the SFC."

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