Glasgow’s star factory: 12 famous faces from the Royal Conservatoire on Renfrew Street

With a history that stretches back 176 years, the Royal Conservatoire in Glasgow has trained some of the city’s biggest stars.

On the red carpet at the BAFTA Scotland Award in Glasgow, actor Ncuti Gatwa said: “The drama school just down the road taught me everything I know, I’m using all of that information in my scripts”.

He was referring to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, the music and drama school recently named as one of the top five places in the world to study the performing arts.

More than 3000 students from 60 countries are now taught music, drama, dance, production and film at the RCS every year, with its usual programme of more than 500 public performances attracting upwards of 40,000 members of the public.

Recent graduates include actor Lorn Macdonald, actress Anna Russell-Martin, singer Iona Fyfe and jazz musician Fergus McCreadie.

The RCS can trace its roots back to 1847 when the Glasgow Athenaeum was established in the city to “provide a source of mental cultivation, moral improvement and delightful recreation to all classes.” Officially opened by Charles Dickens, it initially offered music classes, however its curriculum was expanded to embrace drama tuition in 1886.

The institution would go on to become the Scottish National Academy of Music in 1929, securing royal status from King George VI in 1944. The Glasgow College of Dramatic Art was formed in 1950 and became the first drama school to run its own TV studio in 1962.

The new identity of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama was forged in 1968 and remained intact until a change of name to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2011 to better reflect the range of courses on offer.

To consider the role the RCS has played in the life of the city and its contibution to the cultural landscape, here are some of the famous faces who have studied there.

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