In one week today, no matter how much the sun is brightly shining, it will be a dark, gloomy and miserable day. The era of “university digs” will come to an end as I go out to face the world of the dreaded council tax. Aside from this depressing thought, it is important to remember how 44 Church Street had become an absolute hub of friends and fun. Nevertheless, as I write this from my mattress on the floor in an echoey shell of a half empty room, I know that it will be sorely missed. However, dwelling will only further the pain and so, instead, I’ve decided to look back at my time at university.
The house is inhabited by the three of us – as you can see on the About page, and we all took Drama at St. Mary’s University College, Twickenham. When I was choosing, out of the many options, what course I was to take at a higher education institution, I had the decision of Drama School vs. University. Admittedly, I didn’t manage to successfully audition for drama school, although throughout the auditioning period, I did find that university seemed to suit me anyway. I like to think of myself as a theatre all rounder and uni was certainly the place to relish this aspect.
It gave me the freedom and choice to indulge in my own learning and take what i considered to be ‘true’ from uni drama department and not attempt to fit a mould. Undoubtedly, you don’t receive the intense practical skills based training – but that all depends on where you think you’ll be heading for the three years – for example, actor, director, practitioner, producer etc. – even if you know that already anyway.
Drama at St. Mary’s is currently going through a change of course phase. As a student learning in the heart of this change, I’ve seen how it has benefitted the department as a whole. As much as staffing revisions have led to some gaps – namely a world class dance tutor, there has been some largely fantastic additions which has led to the department having a clearer sense of direction.
The new course, I’ve been told, enables students with a greater promise as to what they will take from the course – unlike some of my peers, for example, not being able to take a module due to shortage of staff/students. It has also been intensified with much more contact time between teachers and students which gives the sort of time that you’d receive at a drama school.
Mark Griffin, Programme Director of Drama and Applied Theatre Arts, who has overseen the phase of the new course blogs at Drama St Mary’s where he is currently filling in on life within the department. The blog includes many examples of opportunities and general activity and the sort of community you’d be a part of. Although the new changes make it slightly more regimented, I feel it will enable prospective students to find a direction in their own learning and much faster too.
I had an amazing three years at Simms – it’s nickname and what it is affectionately known as, and if you’re currently considering drama at school or university then St Mary’s should certainly be a consideration. Their course provides a mix of the two and also the freedom to structure ones learning. For me, there was real feeling to flourish and achieve the best that I could – after all, it’s the reason why we go to university right?