'Dr Who' star fears drama school cuts

'Dr Who' star David Tennant has backed a campaign opposing cutbacks at his former drama school, as student campaigners prepare to meet funding experts today.

The actor said he found the prospect of cuts at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD) “deeply upsetting”.

Supporters of RSAMD fear that the need to make £600,000 (€756,000) of savings, announced earlier this year, will compromise standards at the Glasgow-based institution.

Tennant said he was concerned that the plans could jeopardise the academy’s future.

He said: “Nothing I have managed to achieve in my career would have happened without my training at the RSAMD.

“The drama training I received was world-class and the idea that the opportunities I got there might be compromised for future generations is deeply upsetting.

“I am incredibly proud to be a graduate of RSAMD and Scotland is rightly proud to have such an important arts training ground at its heart.

“I have seen how Scotland’s actors are valued and admired throughout the world. I would hate to see a lack of both immediate and long-term funding jeopardise the future of that hard won reputation.”

Campaigners claim the academy, which boasts well-known actors James McAvoy, Billy Boyd and John Hannah among its former students, faces losing top staff members to its competitors if it does not get extra money.

Tennant’s comments come two weeks after campaigners from the academy held a musical protest outside the Scottish Parliament.

An orchestra performed extracts from Bizet’s 'Carmen Suite' and Wagner’s 'Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg' to draw attention to the cause.

RSAMD students claim that, since 1992, the academy has been given only half the funding it needs for drama, and the drama school has been subsidised by the music school.

A mandatory pay award for teaching staff has left the academy with £600,000 to find for the next academic year, they say.

Student representatives are due to meet the Scottish Funding Council today to discuss the current funding situation at RSAMD.

Barry McAleer, Student President, said: “We’ve still a long way to go, but this is very positive news, and a great step forward in our campaign to safeguard key staff and the RSAMD’s position as an internationally renowned centre of cultural excellence for Scotland.

“We’re very much looking forward to welcoming the SFC representative to the RSAMD and to showing why we are so proud of what we do for Scotland and the quality of the graduates we produce.”

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