The heart of RBC is our students

RBC Principal Stephen Maddock

RBC Principal Stephen Maddock marks his first anniversary in this role sharing the many engaging performances and achievements of our RBC community.


I celebrated my first anniversary as RBC Principal this week – and what a year it has been! There have been so many engaging performances by our brilliant actors and musicians, and our outstanding research team has produced some superb, fascinating work. The Junior Department and Learning and Participation teams have brought the joy of musical participation to tens of thousands of young people, and our five superb venues here at RBC have welcomed many major artists to perform for audiences of students, staff and the general public.

At the heart of all this are our students – their constant commitment to honing and polishing their craft, and acquiring the wide range of skills they will need in their careers. Our students are a constant inspiration to those of us who are trying to help them achieve their goals.

As we focus on the development of our students, we are very conscious that the world into which they will emerge is changing very fast. There have been many challenges for the arts in the UK over the last year, and close to home there have been well-publicised financial challenges at Birmingham City Council.

On the other hand, there have been imaginative plans to widen participation in culture, and encouraging noises from some politicians about all the ways in which they see that performance and creativity can help develop essential life skills and boost employability.

All of us working in the cultural education sector need to keep banging the drum about these benefits, and make sure that these politicians are given sensible ideas and priorities for implementation, and then held to account for what they actually deliver.

Above all, I am an optimist. I am hugely encouraged by the resilience that I see in the creative sector, especially the ways in which our young people continue to find new and creative solutions to drive our artforms forward.

In the meantime, our students are embarking on their assessments and recitals over the next month, the culmination of what we call their Principal Study training over the last year – and in the case of those who are leaving us, over multiple years that they have been at RBC.

I am sure you will want to join me in wishing them well for these next few weeks, and I hope you will also want to see and hear some of the events with which we round off the term – including our summer opera ‘Hansel and Gretel’, our end-of term symphony orchestra concert including Respighi’s gargantuan ‘Pines of Rome’, and several plays including the intriguingly titled ‘Queen Lear’.

See more events here.

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