• Tue. Apr 16th, 2024

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Northern Arts School Appoints Stage and Screen Specialists to Head up Acting and Sound Degrees

Cleveland College of Art and Design (CCAD) is further strengthening its position as a leading northern arts school with the introduction of two new stage and screen degree programmes, bringing industry specialists to lead on the arts courses.

At the leading art and design college based in Hartlepool, Dr Nick Williams and Jonny Bussell have been appointed to develop the Foundation Degree (FdA) in Sound Design for Stage and Screen and BA (Hons) degree in Acting for Stage and Screen respectively, which launch in September 2018.

The sound foundation degree has been designed by Nick to allow students to develop the skills required for sound across digital media, film, tv and theatrical productions, and Jonny has developed the acting degree for students to develop the craft of performing on stage and screen.

Programme leader Nick, originally from Somerset and now living in Whitley Bay, has over 18 years in the sound design industry. Graduating in 2001 from University of Central Lancashire with a degree in Music and Creative Arts with Performance Technology, Nick then launched interdisciplinary performance company ‘theybreakinpieces’, creating multimedia installations, live performance, and experimental performance technologies nationally and internationally.

In 2013 Nick completed a PhD at Newcastle University in audio technology in interdisciplinary performance. His recent theatre credits include Alice in Wonderland, Dr Frankenstein and James and the Giant Peach for Northern Stage, Elton John’s Glasses at the Watford Palace Theatre, Let the Beat Go On for Unfolding Theatre and Sage Gateshead, and The Tempest at Improbable Theatre, Oxford Playhouse and Northern Stage.

Nick was also a musician and audio artist for inclusive dance company, Braena CIC, which specialises in composition, improvisation, dance and vocal practices, and the creation of audio instruments for use in multi-disciplinary workshops for children with special learning requirements.

The sound designer brings a wealth of experience to his role and is now preparing for the course launching in the autumn. He said: “The breadth of the course is amazing and I’m looking forward to the myriad of opportunities that students will have to explore sonic possibilities in a variety of professional production environments. Sharing my knowledge of sound design and seeing which direction the students take their learning is exciting, alongside taking an approach to sound design that values creativity on par with technical knowledge as a core skill.”

Nick’s comprehensive knowledge of audio technologies and techniques for stage and screen will allow the students to benefit from his experience across the breadth of performing arts, media and the sonic arts, working professionally as a sound practitioner including sound design for touring shows, large scale musicals, short films, installation and interactive installations.

Following on from building a successful sound design practice and knowing what it takes to achieve a sustainable career in sound, the creative practitioner is now recruiting the future generation of film and tv sound designers. He continued: “We are now seeking students for the Sound Design for Stage and Screen FdA who are passionate about sound and enthusiastic collaborators who have an interest in exploring the many ways to develop their sound practice.”  

Nick also brings with him a wide network of industry contacts, adding: “With connections in many theatres, technical crews, artists and practitioners both in the region, nationally and internationally, I hope to draw on these networks to enhance the student experience as much as possible.”

Working alongside Nick will be Jonny Bussell as programme leader for the new BA (Hons) degree in Acting for Stage and Screen. Jonny, from Yarm-on-Tees, has worked in the acting industry for over 11 years and in the teaching profession for over seven years.

After graduating from Newcastle University with a First in Philosophy, Jonny went on to study for an MA in Acting at Arts Educational Schools London. He has since worked as an actor, writer and director predominately in the north east, performing in plays such as ‘Revenger’s Tragedy’ at the Arc Theatre in Stockton and ‘The Government Inspector’ at the Newcastle Theatre Royal

As a writer Jonny was part of Live Theatre’s Writer’s Group 2011 and his first full length play ‘The Centre’ was produced at Arc in Stockton. His play ‘The Bag’ toured the North East and Scotland with Northumberland Theatre Company. He was the writer of ‘Just Checking,’ an Arts Council funded play in conjunction with Vivid Theatre Company and Newcastle University which was performed at Northern Stage and Arc.  

Alongside his new role at CCAD, Jonny is currently working as a director for the Arts Council funded play ‘Bankers,’ which explores the 2008 banking crisis and growing use of food banks, and plays at the Alphabetti Theatre in Newcastle next month.

Jonny began his education career in 2011 as a lecturer in acting at Newcastle College, becoming Programme Leader for BA Hons Acting and Performance Practice.  

On his appointment to CCAD and taking the lead on a new course, Jonny said: “Setting up the new BA Hons Acting for Stage and Screen demonstrates how ambitious the college is. I’m incredibly excited about the collaborative nature of the courses, with the acting students having the opportunity to work with their peers to create exciting new films and plays. Coming from Teesside I’m delighted that we have the opportunity to bring top quality actor training to the region.”

Bringing his industry experience to the role, Jonny hopes to enhance the development of the programme by exploring current industry trends.  

“With our strong links at Arc in Stockton as well as Alphabetti Theatre in Newcastle, we will be working closely with the touring companies that will be performing in these venues. I am also keen to create a programme of guest speakers from a host of theatre and film companies.

“I also have a passion for new writing, classical theatre and physical theatre so we can offer students a wide range of skills development within their training. Ideally we are looking for students with passion for acting and are open to new ideas and ways of working so we can make exciting new works.”

Pat Chapman, Vice Principal (Employability and External Relations), said: “Our new degree programmes, which have a focus on the stage and screen industry, build on our track record and respond to what industry figures have told us are the skills needed to sustain this growing and exciting industry in the northeast and the UK as a whole.  

“Jonny and Nick both bring a combination of real world experience, and academic rigour which is vital to preparing our students as work ready professionals, and giving us the ability to offer great collaborative opportunities with theatres and production companies.

“The development of a full suite of stage and screen degrees together with our new theatre, film and TV studios and other technical facilities, offers a fabulous opportunity for students to work together across programmes – collaborating in just the same way they will when they join the business.”

For more information on opportunities at CCAD contact (01642) 288888 or visit www.ccad.ac.uk.

By admin