By Alisa Wylie, Music Editor (@soakedinstatic)
Over my three years at Strathclyde, there has been many a time that I have walked by the majestic looking building on Ingram street while making my way down for a post lecture coffee, and always wondered what it was. I’d always thought of it as being an old church that never quite seemed to be open when I was around, and, being that I am not a religious person – thought nothing of it and resumed my life as normal.
It turns out, however, that this beautiful building that’s just a stone’s throw away from all of the university buildings is the Ramshorn Theatre – which is currently owned by Strathclyde University. I had no idea that this was what this building was until this article was pitched to me. But that’s part of the problem. It should not have to take an article pitch by an editor to bring this incredible building to light. The reason that I had not seen anyone in it, or attending any – what I would have thought to be – “masses” is because the building was shut in 2011.
That’s six whole years of missed opportunities, a stage for plays or a meeting place for creative societies. Why did we let this fade into the background as nice addition to the city centre landscape? Why, given the rich and diverse cultural city that Glasgow is, did this building slip under the radar?
This is just one of the many examples of how arts funding is being overlooked at Strathclyde. On the academic side of things, Applied Music was cut from the humanities curriculum in 2013. Notable alumni from this course include lead singer of Fatherson, Ross Leighton and bassist of Admiral Fallow, Joe Rattray, who now works as the head of booking at Synergy Concerts.
On the extra curricular side of things, the Re-Act drama society that is based within the Union has told me that they have had to hold numerous fundraisers this year to fund their upcoming production, Kill Me Deadly! (There are tickets available for this show at strathstudents.com. They’re only £5. Buy one and go and spend being 1) entertained and 2) feel good in the knowledge that you are supporting a mode of student creativity. SUPPORT THE ARTS. ALWAYS.)
As someone who finds a lot of joy in arts in its various forms, I know first hand how important it is that these ways that people can find artistic expression are available. Take, for example, I recently attended a live gig at Stereo to see one of my favourite artists of all time – and it was an incredibly cathartic experience. It also happened to fall on the evening of the the day of my sister’s funeral. The gig, if it had not been put on by the promoters who put their own money into making it happen, meant that I would have not had the safety net I needed to fall into after one of the most difficult days I’ve ever had to face.
In music, in arts, in performance, in self expression – is a way not only for an escapism, but for a way to stimulate growth. Not only in yourself, but in the way that you connect with other people through that.
Why then, are Strathclyde University not channelling money into allowing this to become a reality for people like me who have a deep, incessant need for the arts? While it’s understandable that they want to be a great, prestigious University that excels in technological and business studies – they should not forget that the arts have just as much of an importance and impact as any clinical study or business report does.