School for Wise Children: apply now


We are delighted to announce that applications are now open for…

Emma Rice’s School for Wise Children


Sat 16 and Sun 17, Sat 23 and Sun 24, Thursday 28 and Friday 29 June 2018, 11am – 6pm each day, at Arnolfini, 16 Narrow Quay, Bristol BS1 4QA.  Places cost £500 (£350 for students), or are available free to applicants in receipt of benefits. More details below. 

Music and sound play a central role in Emma Rice’s work and over the years she has developed a unique approach to creating meaningful and contemporary theatre scores. Music is the heartbeat of her work and in her rehearsal room the line between actor and musician is constantly shifting, with both musicians and actors responding instinctively, imaginatively and equally to the material.

This six-day course is led by Composer, Music Director and long-term collaborator Ian Ross, with Emma Rice and sound designer Simon Baker. The module will look at the skills needed to improvise with actors, create musical arrangements around set themes, and compose at speed. It will also explore the role of the musician on stage – as chorus and as storyteller – asking how we can drive the story forward, or provide focus, or simply know when silence is the best underscore.


Please make a video of yourself playing and singing your favourite song (singing is desirable but not essential). It could be something you have composed yourself or something you love. Upload this video to Vimeo or YouTube and send the link, along with a brief email outlining your musical experience and why you’d like to take this course, to

Applications must be received by 5pm Friday 11 May. Successful applicants will be informed Friday 25 May.

Participants should be confident musicians (on any instrument) but no experience of playing for theatre is necessary. There is no requirement to read music. We’ll aim to put together a group with a diverse range of experiences and instruments.

The course is aimed at ages 18+, but younger applicants will be considered.


If you receive Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Pension, Credit Guarantee Credit, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Universal Credit, Housing Benefit or support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, you’re eligible for a free place at the School for Wise Children. Please note this on your application, and we’ll be in touch to talk more about how we can support you while you train with us. As well as a free place, we may also be able to cover travel, accommodation and / or other costs.

Full price places cost £500, and discounted places for current students are £350.


Ian is a multi-instrumentalist, associate artist of Kneehigh, composer and Music Director. Born in Somerset, Ian began his musical life playing in bands in the back of vans and travelling up and down the country and across Europe as trombonist for festival favourites Babyhead and The Zen Hussies. From a degree in Musical Instrument Technology (guitar building and the finer points of the use of paper in European pipe organs), to being lead tutor at Bath Festival Trust’s Creative factory, Ian has a breadth of experience of music and the many ways it has of contributing to the human experience. As a performer and Music Director, Ian has toured extensively for Kneehigh over the last ten years in shows including; The Red ShoesDon John, The Wild BrideTristan and Yseult and The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk. As composer: Twelfth Night (The Globe), The Very Old Man with Enormous Wings, The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk (Kneehigh).

Photo: Steve Tanner

Author: Poppy Keeling

Executive Producer at Wise Children

2 thoughts on “School for Wise Children: apply now”

  1. May I ask what age do you need to be to apply? Are there any bursarys for those that struggle financialy?
    Thank you. Jan


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