The twin travails of Covid-19 and Brexit have not stopped a London drama school from sending tens of its students on placements across the continent.
More than 30 students enrolled on the European theatre arts (ETA) programme at Rose Bruford College of Theatre & Performance are now learning their prospective trades in Spain, Germany, the Czech Republic, and France.
Although growth in coronavirus cases and a variety of national lockdowns led to a postponing of the original January 2021 departure date, some of the underlying drivers of the ETA programme meant that, ultimately, placements could be taken up.
“The core of the ETA programme is about close mutual collaboration, crossing borders and innovation,” said Thomas Wilson, the Sidcup college’s co-programme director BA for ETA, and Erasmus academic coordinator.
“Guided by these principles we have been able, so far, to weather the storms of Covid and the administrative complexities of Brexit. This has only been possible through the flexibility and collegiality of our partners, and the resilience and adaptability of our students.”
Hurdles to be overcome included due diligence around insurance regulations, extra costs for enhanced testing, and navigating the nuances of each partner country’s bureaucratic requirements.
With funding from the EU’s Erasmus+ scheme soon to be discontinued in the wake of Brexit, Rose Bruford hopes to be able to continue its ETA programme – launched in 1999, and having placed almost 700 drama students – by applying to the government’s new Turing Scheme.
“A European placement is a vital part of each ETA student’s training,” added Wilson.
“It allows each student to learn new methods and techniques, whilst immersed in a different environment, which supports their growing autonomy as independent professionals.”
Students spend between two and five months on their placements, and have experienced everything from puppetry in Poland to physical theatre in the Czech Republic, psychological-realist methods in Estonia to the Daulte technique in Spain.
Prospective students are still able to apply for entry to the ETA programme in September 2021 – click here for further information.