SCOTTISH actor Sam Heughan is to fund a new project to bring creative ideas to life at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS).

Write Start: The Sam Heughan Creative Commission launches today and is designed to encourage students from across Scotland’s national conservatoire to collaborate and expand their skills and creative ambitions across the disciplines of music, drama, dance, production, film and education.

The student or team of students behind the successful submission will receive £5000 to help bring their vision to life, as well as mentoring support from Heughan and industry professionals.

The new initiative – part of RCS’s 175th anniversary celebrations in 2022 – is open to all undergraduate and postgraduate students at RCS, a world top-three destination to study the performing and production arts.

Heughan said: “There are so many wonderful disciplines here at the conservatoire and that collaboration between the art forms can be really interesting.

“It’s important for students to think outside the box – maybe a ballet dancer has a burning ambition to be a writer or just has a really good idea. In the current climate, but also in the modern world, you can’t be quite so rigid about one profession.

“From my own career, I’ve realised that there’s a lot of fluidity.

“You might find that there are other avenues that you can explore that you didn’t even think about that can also help support your chosen career. It energises you and keeps you adaptable to the industry. When we see people from all walks of life or different departments collaborating on something, that’s when real creativity can shine.”

Heughan’s advice to interested students is to “jump in there and give it a go”. He goes on: “I’ve started writing a little bit. I never thought I’d be a writer, I never thought I could do it but once you sit down and start, it just surprises you. I’m really looking forward to seeing what the students come up with.”

Write Start is open to students from any discipline who can submit a pitch for a performance such as a play, musical, film, opera, performance piece, ballet or an innovative production idea.

All finalists will receive £500, which should be used to help progress their idea. The winner will be announced in early 2022, receiving feedback on their work in a mentoring session with Heughan and industry experts, and will be asked to develop a full script, book, score or model.

The winner will be given a slot in summer 2022 to either present a performance to an audience or to see their idea shared with industry professionals.