Manchester’s Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) has announced plans to transform its former Studio Theatre into a state-of-the-art rehearsal and recording area by fitting the world’s largest BOXY modular studio system.
The £850,000 (€1.08m) project will convert the space, previously used for small-scale productions and concerts, into a designated student area with a particular focus on popular music.
The new space will perfectly serve its new cohort of students: in September 2015, RNCM launched the UK’s first four-year BMus degree in Popular Music. The course, one of only three four-year popular music degrees in the world (alongside Amsterdam Conservatorium and Berklee College of Music), provides intensive training for instrumentalists and singers with a high level of performing ability who have ambitions to work as freelance musicians, bands and artists in the popular music industry, or as a preparation for postgraduate study.
Work on the new space, which is set to be completed by September 2016, will be undertaken by Amadeus Acoustic Solutions and will include the installation of a 12m x 11m x 4m BOXY pod incorporating a fully-equipped recording studio. The refurbishment will then enable RNCM musicians to comfortably create and capture amplified and electronic music.
Professor Linda Merrick, RNCM principal, said: ‘The RNCM has an ongoing commitment to enhance the experience of its students, enabling them to work flexibly within and across different musical genres and to create and capture innovative new work that can drive the art form forward.
‘We already pride ourselves on offering exceptional performance opportunities to everyone who studies here, and transforming our former Studio Theatre into a high specification performance and recording space is another step to ensure the College remains at the forefront of music education nationally and internationally.’
This new plan follows the college’s recent £7.1 million redevelopment which overhauled the building’s 40-year-old Concert Hall and backstage areas to include new air-conditioning and heating system, new flooring and seating, advanced technical facilities and lighting, and a new balcony and raised floor area to considerably increase capacity. Described by Amadeus Acoustic Solutions’ managing director Anne Holliday as a ‘champagne moment’, the BOXY pod, set to be installed this summer, is the largest the company has provided globally, and once fitted will create a ‘live room’ suitable for teaching, ensemble work and student rehearsals.
Added Holliday: ‘The news was welcomed with great delight by all the team at Amadeus and BOXY, as we are creating something very special for this project; in fact unique!’