Page last updated at 23:44 GMT, Tuesday, 13 May 2008 00:44 UK

Doctor Who backs academy campaign

By Pauline McLean
BBC Scotland arts correspondent

david tennant
Mr Tennant is a former student of the academy

Doctor Who star David Tennant has joined the campaign to prevent cutbacks at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD) in Glasgow.

The actor credited the college for starting him on the road to fame and said he was "deeply unsettled" by the prospect of cuts.

The college has to make 600,000 of savings in the coming year.

A funding anomaly also means drama students receive less funding than music students.

In a strongly worded statement, Mr Tennant urged the academy board to think again about the prospect of cutting jobs and introducing more part-time contracts.

Scotland is rightly proud to have such an important arts training ground at its heart
David Tennant

He said: "Nothing I have managed to achieve in my career would have happened without my training at the RSAMD.

"The drama training I received was world class and the idea that the opportunities I got there might be compromised for future generations is deeply upsetting.

"I am incredibly proud to be a graduate of RSAMD and Scotland is rightly proud to have such an important arts training ground at its heart.

"I have seen how Scotland's actors are valued and admired throughout the world. I would hate to see a lack of both immediate and long-term funding jeopardise the future of that hard won reputation."

His statement follows an equally outspoken one from actor John Hannah and campaigners hope to persuade other famous former students to follow suit.

'Quality graduates'

Alumni include Billy Boyd, Alan Cumming, Dawn Steele, Gregor Fisher, Elaine C Smith, Tom Conti, Robert Carlyle, John Hannah, Ruby Wax, Hannah Gordon and Bill Paterson.

It also follows a high profile protest outside the Scottish Parliament where the RSAMD's entire symphony orchestra, brass band and Scottish music ensemble performed for public and politicians.

Representatives of the campaign will meet the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), which has promised an independent consultant to reassess the drama school's funding needs, later on Wednesday.

Student president Barry McAleer said: "We've still a long way to go, but this is very positive news, and a great step forward in our campaign to safeguard key staff and the RSAMD's position as an internationally renowned centre of cultural excellence for Scotland.

"We're very much looking forward to welcoming the SFC representative to the RSAMD and to showing why we are so proud of what we do for Scotland and the quality of the graduates we produce."

The Scottish Government has so far refused to intervene, leaving the matter to the RSAMD board, but campaigners say as Scotland's only national conservatoire, it merits intervention.

Students hope to strike a chord
01 May 08 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Appeal to MSPs over academy cuts
23 Apr 08 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West

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