Lower-fee Barcelona drama school to target UK students

The new IAB is situated in the town of Sitges, just outside Barcelona
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A new higher education performing arts school that will teach its courses in English is set to open in Barcelona this summer, claiming to be the first in continental Europe to offer both technical and entrepreneurial training.

The Institute of the Arts Barcelona will offer one-year diploma courses in acting, dance and musical theatre from this September.

It then plans to introduce BA (hons) degree courses across the same subjects from 2014 and then in further areas – including popular music and film production, stage management and arts entrepreneurship – from 2016, when MA degree courses will also be available.

Each degree will be certified by Norwich University of the Arts, with which the IAB is in the final stages of agreeing its validation process.

Inspired by Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, the IAB has developed its curriculum with the support of the UK-based school.

IAB’s chief executive and principal Giles Auckland-Lewis, who has co-founded the centre alongside its president Mark Lethem, worked at LIPA for eight years as director for higher education.

Auckland-Lewis expects to attract around 40 students in the first year to the privately funded IAB, which has had an initial investment of more than £3 million.

This first set of students will have access to four sprung-floor dance studios, a 230-seat theatre, catering facilities and a library at the site, and will be housed in nearby holiday flats and apartments that would otherwise remain empty outside the tourist season.

He said the institution, which has fees of 8,500 euros (around £7,325) per year for its diploma courses, 9,750 euros (£8,400) annually for its three-year BA (hons) degree, and around 10,000 euros (£8,620) for its one-year MA degree, will be aimed at students from the UK who are looking for cheaper fees, as well as international pupils.

Those wanting a “unique” school providing an innovative combination of training in a globally spoken language set in a desirable location will come to learn at the IAB, Auckland-Lewis added.

“We wanted somewhere that was appealing both to students and teaching staff to come to, plus support from the local authority, which we have here,” he said. “We did look all over Europe but then landed here.”

Auckland-Lewis added: “The other advantage we have is the lower cost of living, plus the number of contact hours with tutors we have here – from 9am to 5pm – comparable to some of the best drama and dance conservatoires in the UK, without students having to pay the big bucks they would have to pay in the UK.”