Dougray Scott hits out at plans to scrap college course that made him a star

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By Lalita Augustine and Anna Gault

HOLLYWOOD actor Dougray Scott has lashed out at “tragic” plans to axe the college course that made him an international star.

Ewan McGregor also studied theatre at Adam Smith College, Fife, but the course faces being scrapped in favour of money-spinning “growth areas” such as engineering and business.

Mission Impossible 2 and Desperate Housewives star Dougray said: “I think it’s tragic and very short sighted that the Adam Smith College is cutting its theatre arts programme.

“Without this course I would not have become an actor. It’s as simple as that.

“It seems that the arts in our society is always seen as a luxury which I find offensive.

“Perhaps the powers that be should imagine a world without theatre, cinema, art galleries, museums, television drama.

“If funding bodies and institutions continue to see the arts in this way, then the future looks very bleak indeed. Especially for people from my background.”

Scott took a full-time, high-level course in acting and performance. Ewan McGregor took a one year course in acting and performance at the college.

Other former students include Shirley Henderson, star of Harry Potter, Trainspotting and Bridget Jones’s Diary.

The move has also infuriated the current generation of theatre students, who are planning a protest today (Thu) at an open day. A bigger demonstration is planned for later this month, when the students return from their Easter break.

An online petition against the proposed cuts has already attracted more than 1,000 names.

And students have started a petition Tweet asking celebrities including David Bowie, Lord Alan Sugar, Michael Caine, Fran Healy and even Leonard Nimoy for support.

Former student and Rebus actress Molly Innes said that her success is all down to doing a theatre arts course at Adam Smith College.

She said: “So much money has been invested into improving the college and creating facilities for drama that are first class.
 
“All that money will be wasted if these courses are allowed to disappear. 

“I wouldn’t have been able to have had the career in theatre, TV and radio that I have, if I hadn’t done this course.  It was a stepping stone.”

The theatre arts team has been at the forefront of developments in the field for around 30 years .

If the plans go ahead, 13 full time courses at the college’s St Brycedale campus will be scrapped with the loss of around 150 students and 13 staff posts.

Staff  have been told that the programmes may be discontinued through a “phased approach”.

Hugh Loughlan, curriculum head for the theatre arts department, said: “This has been a big shock.”

He revealed the contents of an email from college bosses in which they stated: “It is considered that Theatre and Performing Arts is no longer a viable area to support economic development in Fife and as such will be discontinued through a phased approach.”

Mr Loughlan said: “We have not been given any opportunity to address this and we can’t really see where this decision has come from.

 “We know what our students are doing after they have graduated their courses and how successful they are but the college management don’t so we want to know why this decision has been made.”

Michael Buzza, a second year HND technical theatre student who has been at the college for three years, said: “Fife has many theatres and a great reputation for producing quality actors who have gone on to big things.

“We have been disappointed that the college management has not told the students about these proposals.”

A spokesperson for Adam Smith College said: “Decisions to reduce certain courses are not taken lightly. However, when it is decided that some courses are to be phased out, all current students on those courses will have the opportunity to complete their studies.

“While the review is essential and makes recommendations that, if taken forward, will impact our current curriculum we would not want to pre-empt any future discussions with staff by commenting on the future of individual courses.”

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