This morning I helped run a Discovery Day at the university for drama students from Worcester College of Technology. After introducing ourselves to the sixth form students, nearing twenty in number, we then played a few focus games before moving onto ensemble exercises that would eventually lead into chorus work. The structure of the days events had already been organised by one of my lecturers, but Andy and I had volunteered to supervise and help.
These past few years at university have given me opportunities to direct at least short elements of practical pieces, and being director of Loco Show Co. has also had me work with my peers. I have experienced working with children aged eight to twelve in a youth theatre capacity as well, directing minor scenes with them too, but this particular moment with the sixth-form students was an insight into something I had not quite prepared myself for. Much of my experience was obtained through observation as their energy and enthusiasm met erratic heights.
Following this my official role as Student Ambassador was required and I took them on a condensed tour of the Digital Arts Centre, the Drama Studio and Dance Studio, relaying the necessary information and interesting tales about the Drama & Performance faculty and facilities before again dividing in two and taking half of them to observe a third year lecture. A few members of my group chose to observe up close, but some had questions for me about the course itself and my experience being at the University of Worcester. Over the past couple of weeks I have assisted the drama department with their interview/audition process and given the prospective students some insight into my personal experience being at the university; today was no different, but they were full of questions. Most of these sixth form students were considering drama school and many had not opted for university, so I had now “thrown a spanner in the works” because they initially thought drama courses at university would be more academic.
I explained how my confidence and skills have vastly improved and increased since being at university, and prior to going I was more lost for direction in life than I would care to admit, but since day one I have thrown myself into anything and everything, and I have been rewarded for that. Essentially, the difference between a drama school and what the drama course at University of Worcester offers is training. At drama school you are trained to the best of your abilities to be a performance; at university, the diversity of the modules available give you a far more rounded experience and your employability increases on a variety of career paths, rather than focus on a particular profession. There is a huge difference between these two choices of higher education, but just because you go down one road does not mean that you cannot follow it with the other, finance-allowing.
The tutors from Worcester College of Technology were very impressed by my handling of the students and their questions that they have invited me to come and talk with them again and more of their students in a more tutorial-based environment at their college in the next couple of months.
The experience from this morning I feel very much builds upon what it means to be a small theatre company. Particularly with only two of us, we can be rather restricted with what is available to us unless we expand into working in other capacities in the creative arts industry, e.g. workshops in schools. Outside of the module necessities, our company has the ability to expand and produce more than just performances. TM