RBC Principal reflects on the spring term’s highlights

Stephen Maddock

Principal Stephen Maddock shares the “artistic riches” performed by our talented students and emphasizes the vital roles RBC and Birmingham City University will play in the cultural and creative life of this city in light of Birmingham City Council’s financial woes.


When I started at RBC 10 months ago, everyone told me to expect to be very busy, especially during the second half of the spring term. Well, the calendar has now brought me here, and they were right!

There have been so many artistic riches over the last few weeks that it’s hard to know where to start. For the sheer joy it brought to our four full capacity audiences – as well as the amount of effort that went into preparing it – pride of place has to go to last week’s (w/c 26 February) opera production, ‘Massenet’s Cendrillon’ (Cinderella).

I saw both casts, and it was exemplary in every respect: Singing, acting, orchestra, production, set design, costumes, lighting – and conducting it all was the head of our superb Vocal Department Paul Wingfield.

I have also really enjoyed hearing the Symphony Orchestra play Bernstein at Symphony Hall, the Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra in Eastside Jazz Club, the Wind, Brass and Percussion concert in the Bradshaw Hall and the third-year Stage Management students’ show at Anchor Point. 

Around 40 of our students also shone as members of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) Youth Orchestra playing Mahler’s Symphony No.5 at Symphony Hall and supporting fellow student Jordan Ashman as he (brilliantly) played a concerto in the same concert. 

In the next couple of weeks, I am looking forward to our special performance for International Women’s Day, a chamber choir concert in a Birmingham church, as well as no fewer than three Acting productions at the Cresent Theatre and the Old Rep.

This has all played out against a backdrop of the financial woes of Birmingham City Council, which confirmed this week (w/c 4 March) that it will not be able to offer any support to the cultural sector from next year, so the contributions of RBC and the wider University to the cultural and creative life of this city have never been more vital. It has never been more important that we equip all our students with the widest possible range of professional skills – something on which we pride ourselves here at RBC – so that they are ready for careers, which continue to evolve in some quite radical and interesting ways.

I hope to see you at some of the upcoming events, and I would also like to wish you an enjoyable Easter break.

Principal Stephen Maddock

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