Leading arts figures to reveal tricks of the trade in free 'digital masterclasses'

The films, around 10 minutes in length, will be made available, free to view online, under Melvyn Bragg’s South Bank Show banner

Adam Sherwin
Sunday 04 May 2014 18:27
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Ever wanted to produce your own Tracey Emin-style monoprint or recreate Gravity's Oscar-winning special effects at home?

Leading arts figures are to reveal the tricks of their trade in a series of free “digital masterclasses” which they hope will inspire a new generation of talent.

The films, around 10 minutes in length, will be made available, free to view online, under Melvyn Bragg’s South Bank Show banner, from July.

Tracey Emin will deliver a masterclass demonstrating the monoprint technique she used to create a series of diaristic images in the 90s which chronicled her troubled years growing up in Margate.

Tim Webber, the Academy award-winning special effects supervisor on Alfonso Cuarón's space thriller, Gravity, will demonstrate the art of creating dazzling visual effects.

Nicholas Hytner, the National Theatre director, will give advice on how to direct a play, whilst Abi Morgan, the writer who dramatised Margaret Thatcher in the hit film The Iron Lady, will discuss her method for crafting a successful screenplay.

Jamie Cullum (songwriting), Edward Watson (ballet) and Simon Armitage (poetry) are among the names who will contribute short films giving an insight into their working practices.

The South Bank Show, axed by ITV in 2011, has been revived by Sky Arts and the masterclasses will form part of the Sky Academy, a series of public service initiatives created by the subscription broadcaster, for young people interested in working in the arts.

“The masterclasses will give young people access to 15 leading artists,” said Bragg, who suggested that BSkyB was now “leading the way” in arts coverage, at the expense of the BBC.

The broadcaster, 74, said Morgan, who has penned the forthcoming historical film Suffragette, starring Meryl Streep and Carey Mulligan, and is also profiled in the new South Bank Show series, was emblematic of a drive towards gender equality in the arts world.

“Her prodigious work reminds us of the massive forward move that a generation of women have made in theatre, television and films,” said Bragg.

“From being actresses and hangers-on and sometimes writers, they’re now directors, producers and running companies. They’re CEOs and they’re running theatres. It’s a big shift that’s taken place in power as well as personnel.”

The Sky Academy will this year award bursaries worth £30,000 each, and deliver mentoring support, to five applicants, aged 18-30, seeking to break into the performing arts, creative writing or producing.

A digital opera masterclass will be given by Angel Blue, a rising American soprano and former beauty queen, who appeared in the ENO’s production of La bohème last year.

Ms Blue said she was honoured to be chosen for a profile in the new South Bank Show series which also features Sam Mendes and Simon Russell Beale discussing King Lear and the Whitbread Prize-winning author Kate Atkinson, giving what she said would be her only television interview.

The Masterclass series includes Peter Lord, co-founder of the Oscar-winning Aardman Animations studio, demonstrating stop-motion techniques, Evelyn Glennie on percussion and Joan Armatrading guiding online students through a songwriting seminar.

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