Hi everyone, I came to the realisation the other day that the end of my first year is fast approaching, which is crazy and scary, and so I wanted to start reflecting on some of the things that I have done over the year as there may be things that you will be interested in doing next year.
One of the things that was a priority for me when coming to university was to carry on with my dancing. I have danced since the age of 4 and as much as I am not involved as much anymore I still enjoy it and it is also a good bit of exercise. Luckily for me a girl from home was one of the people that ran the society “Hillstart” so she was really helpful and answered any questions that I had.
Hillstart offer a variety of classes such as, Broadway jazz , commercial, jazz technique, ballet and contemporary. I was lucky enough that one of my flatmates wanted to try some of the classes out as well so we went along together. I first tried out the Heels class, which is something I’ve never done before, but it was good because there was a variety of different capabilities there yet the girl made sure that everyone was happy and feeling confident. And no one is the class judged you and if you needed help I felt like I could’ve asked anyone, because at the end of the day you are all there to enjoy yourself and have a good time.
I also tried out the lyrical class, I had done lyrical before but it is not my strongest style of dance. I was quite apprehensive to attend this class, however it was a nice small class and there were a couple times I couldn’t do a move because I was incapable or had problems with my hips, however the girl taking the class made sure I was happy and gave me something different to do. And I have found that in every class, they just want to make sure you’re enjoying yourself.
And last but not least the tap class, I attended this a few times in semester 1 and really enjoyed it, and it is available to all capabilities. Tap has always been my strongest style of dance and the one that I have enjoyed the most so I definitely wanted to carry it on at uni. I have continued to attend this class and I am now going to be a part of the show piece that we will perform at the start of June. I am very much looking forward to it and can’t wait to try out more and different classes next year.
Earlier this month I got the chance to work with Circus Sensible again to create a collaborative Circus performance which we performed to various audiences on Friday 18th and Saturday 20th May. I took part in this one week intensive last year too, which you can read about here:
This intensive was offered to Performing Arts students, but was something anyone who wished to learn something about circus skills and performance could take part in. I already knew a few skills from the previous year, such as juggling, diabolo, spinning plates and a bit of hula hooping, but I wanted to focus on developing my hula hooping skills this year, so I did!
I worked on developing a hula hooping routine with the help of the Circus Sensible team, who gave me some great advice on what I can do to better the routine. I couldn’t thank them enough for what they gave me!
We performed to two audiences of local Primary School children on the Friday, then 2 audiences of families and our friends on the Saturday. It was so interesting to see how the audiences reacted and how different they were, and I feel really lucky to have had this opportunity that Edge Hill have given me. This is one of the many things Edge Hill has given me, and I look forward to what comes in my third year!
Every semester there is a new programme of fantastic events at the Arts Centre, and this semester is pretty exciting! For those of you who do not know about the Arts Centre yet, the Arts Centre is both the place in which the Performing Arts courses are based, and also the home of Edge Hill’s two working theatres, which host all kinds of theatre, screenings and music throughout the year. If you wish to read my previous posts about the Arts Centre and also the FREE student membership, which allows you 4 free tickets to see shows a semester, i have linked these below:
The most recent brochure for Winter/Spring 2018 has just been released, showing the next few months of events that are going to be happening.
As you can see, Joel Dommett is coming to Edge Hill next month (Saturday 17th Feb. 8pm). Joel is known for Impractical Jokers, I’m a Celebrity and is now one of the hosts of I’m A Celebrity: Extra Camp, as well as being a fantastic comedian. It’s definitely one of the events I’m looking forward to!
Translunar Paradise is coming to Edge Hill next Tuesday at 8pm, and is described by The Guardian as “Extraordinarily poignant… beautifully performed… packs a real emotional punch“. Translunar Paradise is a story of love, and focuses on a man who has lost his wife to old age, and is reminiscing on the fond memories they had together. You can watch the trailer below:
Frank Wurzinger, a hilarious clown will be returning to Edge Hill to perform his new show “Me! Me! Me!”. Me! Me! Me! is described as “a comedic exploration of Narcissism with a modern twist: Mobile phones, social media, selfie sticks, slapstick, and a huge ego“. You can watch the trailer for this show below:
As well as theatre shows, there are also both theatre screenings and films being shown throughout the week. On 14th February, the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Twelfth Night is being screened in the Studio Theatre at Edge Hill. National Theatre’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is also being screened on 22nd February.
Most weeks there are midweek films, this semester including Dunkirk, Pan’s Labyrinth, Blade Runner 2049 and Goodbye Christopher Robin. As well as these, there is the Free Film Friday specifically for Edge Hill students. This is a great opportunity to see some fantastic films on the big screen completely free! Yesterday’s film was Justice League, and there have also been films of the likes of Bridget Jones’ Baby, IT and Beetlejuice before.
This semester also hosts some fantastic music events. As well as the Arts Centre’s own Open Mic Night, in which students can perform and get to know other musicians at Edge Hill, there are also events such as Jazz in the Red Bar and The Art of the Modern Big Bang.
So there’s so much to do and see at the Arts Centre! If you’re a fan of Theatre, Film or Music, the Arts Centre is one of the biggest assets to being a student at Edge Hill. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments, but otherwise, you can check out the Arts Centre website here.
(You can find part 1 of this segment here, which covers the first half of the month.)
With so many events going on, I actually needed to split this into two parts! So, if you’re planning ahead for mid-late February, here’s my personal picks for Arts Centre events!
16th Feb 2018, 2:30pm
A personal account of untold history told through the lens of South African social history and black South African identities. Mxoli Norman’s play uses jazz to explore the relationship between father and son and is a poetic telling of a powerful story. TICKETS are FREE!
If you wanted to watch a play that combines a deep story and amazing music, I could not reccomend this more! Also, FREE TICKETS!
17th Feb 2018, 8:00pm
I’m A Celebrity… 2016 runner-up, international globetrotter, English Comedian of the Year finalist and SKINS contributor Joel Dommett is known for reducing sell out audiences into bouts of uncontrollable laughter. NOT TO BE MISSED!
It’s not only at special SU ights that you get to meet famous people! Plus, if you love a bit of comedy, here’s your fix!
19th Feb 2018, 7:30pm
Reverb is a monthly interdisciplinary spoken word and open mic event featuring established writers and artists and providing an opportunity for emerging writers to present new work. FREE, just turn up!
If you enjoy listening to writers reading out their work – both established and emerging alike – then attend and show your support!
UK Launch of the Oxford Handbook of Arts and Wellbeing
23rd Feb 2018, 9:30am
Professor Vicky Karkou holds a Chair of Dance at Edge Hill University leading the research theme of arts and wellbeing. A qualified dance teacher, researcher and dance movement psychotherapist, she has lengthy experience of working with diverse clinical populations in different settings. FREE EVENT
Launch events seem to be plentiful at Edge Hill – if you wanna be one of the first, here’s one on your doorstep!
Jazz in The Red Bar
26th Feb 2018, 8:00pm
The Red Bar transforms into a cabaret style jazz club for The Phil Shotton Quartet. Join us for jazz standards from the 1930’s onwards and popular songs from the American songbook – swing music at its best! FREE – just turn up!
The second of this event in as many months, if you enjoy a good ol’ bit of Jazz, then mosey on down!
Even with all the events discussed in the two parts of this series, there are many more events going on! (Madness, I know!)
If none of the events here excite you, you can find the full list here!
Once again, the Arts Centre has an amazing lineup of shows ready for next month! So, I’ve sifted through the list, and here’s my personal recommendations!
Chinese New Year Celebration – Transition
2nd Feb 2018, 6:30pm
In celebration of Chinese New Year, Edge Hill’s Confucius Institute invite you to a live rock style concert with a difference. Transition is a three-piece British rock band who write their own songs and sing in Mandarin – a fusion of eastern and western musical influence!
If you like rock music, then you may enjoy this interesting twist!
Me! Me! Me!
6th Feb 2018, 8:00pm
According to Frank Wurzinger this is the best show ever to be created by a human being. Come and see for yourself!
“best show ever”… well, there’s only one way to find out!
Blade Runner 2049
7th Feb 2018, 7:30pm
Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. Cert 15
I’ve never watched Blade Runner 2049 before, but I always hear people praising it. So, if you’re in the same boat as me, here’s your chance!
13th Feb 2018, 7:30pm
Winner of the 2017 Edge Hill Short Story Prize, Daisy Johnson, is one of the finest upcoming young writers in the country. She will read from her weird and wonderful short story collection, Fen.
Of course, there’s slight bias due to it being about writing! But if you want to learn more about writing, here’s a good opportunity!
55th Annual Ann Arbor Film Festival Tour
15th Feb 2018, 7:30pm
Featuring a selection of international short films, this programme of experimental, animated and documentary film, includes The Interior, winner of the Michael Moore Award for Best Documentary Film. The Arts Centre is the only UK host for the sixth year running. TICKETS are FREE!
“55th Annual” and “only UK host for the sixth year running” make this seem like a must-see event! Plus, FREE TICKETS!
There’s many more events next month, so expect a part 2 for the rest!
The Arts Centre on campus is truly a magnificent place. Not only do they do Free Film Friday, but they have a magnificent array of other shows on offer! Even better, if you have an Arts Centre membership (which is free, by the way!), you can get 4 tickets free per semester!
Question is: what to use them on? Here are some of my recommendations!
(See the full list @ https://www.edgehill.ac.uk/events/arts-centre/whats-on/)
Bad Girls – Jan 9 & 10 – 7:30pm Third Year Musical Theatre Students present Bad Girls. A fresh, funny and original British musical, based on characters from the award winning and hugely popular television drama Bad Girls.
Sister Act – Jan 12 & 13 – 7:30pm
Third Year Musical Theatre Students present Sister Act. Featuring dazzling dance routines and songs inspired by Motown, soul and disco, Sister Act is the funniest and funkiest musical around.
(If you are on campus on any of these dates and want to support fellow students, these are both great choices!)
EHU Musical Theatre Society Winter Showcase – Jan 20 – 7:30pm
If you’re a fan of musical theatre or just fancy something different on a cold January Saturday night in Ormskirk, come in and feel the warmth of the stage lights and the red-hot talent Edge Hill Musical Theatre Society has on offer and we promise you’ll have a wonderful evening!
(Because who doesn’t love a good bit of musical theatre?)
Jazz in The Red Bar – Jan 29 – 8:00pm
The Red Bar transforms into a cabaret style jazz club! The Phil Shotton Quartet will entertain you with jazz standards from the 1930’s onwards and popular songs from the American songbook – swing music at its best! FREE – just turn up!
(You don’t even need a ticket for this one! Just head over to the Red Bar – you’ll see it as you walk in – and enjoy the music!)
Open Mic Night – Jan 31 – 7:30pm
Edge Hill is bursting with talented students who can sing or dance, recite poetry, play an instrument or have another hidden talent. Book your slot with the Box Office – or be part of the audience. FREE, just turn up!
(Again, no ticket required! Just turn up on the night – or register with the Box Office to take part! There may even be a performance from yours truly…)
Spanish fantasy story directed by Guillermo del Torro (‘Cronos’) with stunning sets, shocking scenes and effects – set in the mind’s eye of a lonely young girl. Cert: 15 with English subtitles.
(If an Open Mic Night isn’t your thing, you can pop down on the same night and watch the Labyrinth that didn’t have David Bowie in it!)
Of course, my opinion is not the only one in the world – if none of these excite you, check out the link near the top and see the whole list for next semester! You can book online or head to the Box Office to get any tickets you want! And remember – 4 free tickets with a membership!
I made a post recently about the Open Days at Edge Hill, and I thought I would shed some light on the audition days that the Performing Arts department hold for prospective students!
The department do this so they can get an idea of the performers they are expecting to bring onto the course. And I know, the word audition usually brings nerves to the surface, but it’s a very casual and lovely experience! My audition for the BA (Hons) Performing Arts was more like I was taking a workshop on physical and multimedia theatre- we did some movement work for the first bit of the audition, then we did some work with projection and using different materials to project onto. I met performers from all over, got to know two of the staff members at the Uni and most of all, had fun! At the very end, there was a short writing task where I was asked two questions about performance, but they aren’t looking for right or wrong answers with this part of the audition; they’re simply looking at how you personally write to get an idea of how you’ll find the written work on the courses!
Again, the auditions are so laid back, and all the movement and projection work we did was about us showing how we work in a group and how we bring our creativity to the table. It was super fun! For my course, we didn’t have to prepare anything, but for course like Musical Theatre you might have to prepare a song, but they don’t ask you to prepare anything extreme!
Another great thing about these audition, as I’m sure some of you interested in Performance Arts will have come across the opposite of, is that you don’t have to pay for the audition. Conservatories and some other establishments charge for auditions, but at Edge Hill the team believe that if you want to audition, you should be able to free of an extra cost! When I was looking for places to go, I looked at Conservatoires, but I could only afford to audition to one, so being able to audition at Edge Hill for free took so much weight off my shoulders and has really meant in the long run that I’ve been able to go to the place most suited to me and gain skills that’ll help me and my career massively despite not having the money for auditions.
Once you’ve applied for an audition, you are informed of the time and date and if you do need to prepare anything, and upon arriving there are people there to make sure you know where you’re going. The whole process is handled perfectly so that you can focus on doing the best you can!
If you’ve got an audition coming up soon, the best advice I can give you is to be yourself. Use your creativity and your personality and don’t be scared to follow through on ideas you get in the audition. It just shows the staff how creative you are as a performer! Also, try not to be too nervous. The teachers are lovely and they try not to make it seem like an audition. I know it’s easier said than done, but it’ll be something you remember from your time with Edge Hill, like it is for me!
But one of the things I haven’t mentioned yet are the amazing opportunities within Liverpool to experience all kinds of the best and bravest theatre and music! There’s the Liverpool Empire Theatre, which hosts the likes of War Horse and Circus of Horrors, the Philharmonic Hall, which hosts the likes of Islands in the Stream and Jake Bugg, and even more. One of the best things about Edge Hill being close to Liverpool, a well known city in Britain, is that you get to involve yourself in this amazing culture.
Not only are there these shows for those interested in theatre, but there are also always some amazing independent performances going on too from local creatives. I had the chance to see one of these today, so I wanted to give you an idea of what is on offer. The performance I saw was Rachael Mutch’s 96/27; a harrowing account of the Hillsborough Disaster, its effects on the survivors and the media coverage, through the eyes of one of the survivors.
Mutch brilliantly used a mixture of video projection of the footage from the day the disaster happened and dialogue based on a real life experience of being in the standing area of the grounds where the awful crushing happened. The whole performance was very immersive; firstly, the performance took part in one of the changing rooms in the sports centre of the University of Liverpool, a very small space with astro turf on parts of the floor and scarves hanging from the hooks around the room, which made it feel very personal, everything Mutch said felt very direct and made the experiences she was explaining hit me ten times harder. There were moments were she would hand scarves to the audience or hold a hand, and the atmosphere this created and influenced was one of the strongest I’ve seen in a performance.
One of the things I loved so much about the performance was how it focused on not just what happened on 15th April 1989, but the media and its impact on the survivor, quoting and projecting some of the disrespectful things that were said about the Liverpool fans at the match and showing the anger the survivor feels at being portrayed in such a way across the UK. Mutch also focused on the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that followed the survivor she was giving a voice to and probably a lot of those who were caught in the events that took place that day, putting across the important message to the audience that, although these survivors weren’t physically hurt in the way that those who sadly died were, they were and might still be mentally suffering.
96/27 is an excellent biographical piece which focuses on a local event that took 27 years to get the justice for the victims that it deserved. Performances like this are what create much needed and important conversations in those who see them and in society. One of the amazing things about this particular performance, also, is that Mutch is a graduate of Edge Hill and actually developed this from her dissertation piece, so it goes to show that the work here at Edge Hill really does lead to amazing places.
One of the amazing things about this company in particular is that they are all either Edge Hill alumni (graduates) or lecturers at Edge Hill. I had the opportunity to speak to them all about what their experiences were like and what Edge Hill has given them as performers. I first asked them to introduce themselves and the character they played:
RM: Rachael Mutch, playing the character of Holly.
KHC: Kylie Heron-Cadwallader, playing the role of Susan.
SR: Sam Rushton, playing the role of Sam.
LAD: Lisa Adams-Davey, I play Doctor W and the Vicar, and I am the Director.
JB: James Burrows, and I play the character of Phil.
DHJ: Danielle Holland-Jones, stage manager.
EC: Elric Cadwallader, I play the character of CP.
CR: Christopher Roy, I played Richard.
CF: And Cat Formby, playing Mo/Double Gusset.
Rhiannon Thomas (me): Ok, right, so the first thing I wanted to ask is; you tackle really sensitive subjects, obviously, not just for this show, I’ve seen for your show They Shoot Dogs, that’s obviously another sensitive subject. What was your main motivation to create such pieces and do you ever hit a block in the creative process whilst assuring the topics are handled correctly?
LAD: Well, the main motivation has been a research initiative, in the first instance, then from the initial research initiative we created the company with a view to tackling subjects, such as… well, with a view to tackling mental health, and we feel that the work that we put on is politically charged, it’s relevant, it needs to be heard, and yes it’s very sensitive, as you say, very sensitive… but necessary in order to support people, to generate an understanding as to what it’s like to have a mental health condition. So, that’s the main thing really, was a research initiative of mine, and I’ve taught all these wonderful people, and we work together on relevant topics, such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Clinical Depression, Suicide… Often topics, well, they are topics that are surrounded by stigma, and it’s about getting rid of that stigma and saying ‘hey, you know what, this is real, people do take their own lives, people do suffer with depression, people do suffer with anxiety, bipolar disorder, and so on and so forth, post-traumatic stress disorder, and this is reality’. And it’s relevant, it’s important. And it’s also to say, you know, it’s ok to talk about it, it’s important that we do talk about it, cause so much is swept under the carpet and we don’t want that.
RT: Ok, bit more of a trivial question, describe the Rose Theatre and Edge Hill Arts Centre in 3 words, cause I’ve seen that most of you are graduates…
EC: In three words?
EC: It’s our home.
LAD: It’s our home!
RT: Ok, so again, because a lot of you are graduates…
LAD: All of them are graduates.
RT: Ah ok, all of you are graduates [laughter]… do you think the courses here and the University gives you what you need to follow a creative career path?
CR: Damn skippy it does.
SR: I think it’s hard to put a definitive answer on that question, cause courses are ever fluctuating and ever changing, from my personal perspective it gave me the most amazing grounding in who I am as a practitioner, who I am as a person, and it gave me everything I needed to be an independent, forward-thinking, critical analyst. It gave me all the skills that I needed to take my own practice and take my own place in the world and my own place in the industry and it gave me a great springboard for that as well as making magic… This place is an amazing place; the supportive tutors, the facilities, it’s ever developing, ever expanding and I think in an industry that’s ever developing and ever expanding that’s really important from a University course and a University as well.
EC: Considering how big the course is now and how it expanded, like all the different things you can do, you can do musical theatre and you can do all these other things that weren’t available when we were first coming here, we’re so shocked that you can come here and you just say ‘I’m an ex-student’ they will give you a room and say you can rehearse in there, you can use the resources…
LAD: It’s very generous.
EC: So, like, they’ll do anything for alumni, for current students, they’ll bend over backwards to say ‘we’ll look at the set’ and, you know, where you are, and the techies are fantastic.
LAD: I think what’s been really interesting within this project is even though this is an alumni company, we’ve been employed as a professional company to come in and produce this work, on top of that we have had the facilities to rehearse in, and I know I’m a member of staff, but it is a privilege to have that, because actually it’s very expensive to hire rehearsal rooms, and technicians and, you know, all the things that we have here, and it’s a real privilege, and these guys have put in an inordinate amount of time to make it happen as well.
CF: Can I just say something about the beginning of that question? When you said, and what I find interesting, I did Dance, Drama and Physical Theatres here, and then I went on to Drama School, which was more of a Conservatoire training, and the course was an MA in Professional Acting, and what I was surprised at; there was nothing that came up in that course that I hadn’t been told about, studied, or researched, or touched on, or done a workshop on, you know? There were things that we explored further in voice and that kind of stuff, but there was nothing that I wasn’t aware of, I didn’t feel on a back foot about anything, and there was a massive contrast for me in the quality of the tutors here to the tutors there. Whilst I was there in that 15 months, there were 2 tutors from here came to do workshops at that drama school and I’d been banging on about this place to the point of boring everybody, and I was delighted that two of the tutors, the physical theatre tutor and a dance tutor, both came there to deliver workshops, and I’d banged on about how great they were and I don’t think my peers there were expecting to be blown away. But they were, and the contrast in the teaching, the quality, the workshop just stuck out like a sore thumb.
SR: Yeah, I’d agree with Cathy, I went to drama school to do my Masters in London as well, and everything Cathy’s just said was exactly the same as when I went to drama school to do my MA after being here. It just gave me everything that I needed before I even got there, and when I got there it meant that I could just run, and two of the tutors here also went to Central School of Speech and Drama, where I was, to give workshops or be actual lecturers there as well, so this place is really rich.
LAD: Yeah, I think the one thing that we do hold dear, I mean, as a lecturer here, the one thing that we hold dear is the fact that we actually educate thinking practitioners, and that’s really important, and that’s why when you’re putting work on such as this, I do expect my cast to think and to analyse, and to evaluate; what is it we’re doing and why are we doing it… and they’ve had that from day dot, they’ve had that from when they walked in the door at Edge Hill. I remember… Sam and Elric were in the first cohort [I taught], I remember asking Elric, you know, what made you choose Edge Hill? Why didn’t you go to Drama School? And he said I specifically chose Edge Hill because I wanted an education, I didn’t want a Conservatoire training, I wanted an education, I wanted to think about my subject and really analyse it. It’s not good enough, I don’t think, just to be able to perform; you have to do all the other stuff as well, and really that’s invaluable to here, I believe, and to what we provide. I suppose it’s that’s very immodest for me to say that as a lecturer here [laughter], but it’s something that we do hold dear.
CR: I’ll back that up with; I agree with everything that Lisa has just said.
KHC: Yeah I agree [laughter]. Going back to your question, not only has it helped in, you know, a creative setting, but I work as a legal secretary as well, so giving you the confidence to get up on stage also gives you the confidence to interact with people in every day life, and they’re the people that we’re trying to portray when we’re onstage. We’re not portraying, like, an airy-fairy, fluffy version of life, especially with this piece, we’re looking at what makes people tick. So, in my everyday life, I work in a solicitors, so I get to see everything, you know, from birth, life, marriage, death, everything. So, it’s nice to be part of life at the same time and have those social skills to talk to people, which I’ve received from here. I’ve got that confidence from training as an actor, and then it sort of gives back; anything that I see in life, I can take that in like a sponge and portray that on the stage, so these skills are transferrable as well, cause not only do we learn about our craft, about acting, performing… to portray the human race, you have to understand about human psychology, philosophy, theology… so not only do you open up your skill-set as an actor through creative tools, you also touch upon other areas of education, so not picking on people who go “drama, that’s where you just run around the room”…
LAD: “Jazz hands!” [laughter]
KHC: It’s not just about that, we have to understand the human condition…
SR: And how to connect with another human being, fundamentally, how you connect, and get a reaction out of another human being, whatever their reaction is. Going back to Lisa’s answer about why we do this, it’s because it is an awareness, it is opening a dialogue, it is, when I was speaking to yourself before, about using theatre as a catalyst to make you think what you’ve got from that, and everybody’s opinions are valid, but that fundamental connection is really, really important.
LAD: I think also going back to what Kylie said there, you know, one of the things that we do focus on [is] employability skills, so this company itself offers employability to certain graduates who are appropriate for the company. When we did [They Shoot] Dogs I did an audition, two days of auditions to get the cast together, and then from that cast and that production, Confiança was born, and we’ve done a few other things since then. This is our second major production, but we have done other projects. And so it’s kind of… those employability skills that you were talking about, that are developed as a student, they’re absolutely invaluable, in any walk of life, not just on the stage as you say Kylie, in any walk of life; if you’re a lecturer, just as a person… You know, there’s a few lecturers in and amongst us, a few people working in different professions, etc.
CR: I just wanna put out there, I’m now also teaching Drama, and I certainly would not be doing that if it weren’t for Edge Hill. And even aspects of my own teaching practise I may have, I’m gonna use the word ‘stolen’ [laughter], I have done lessons that Lisa taught me.
RM: I have too.
CR: Yeah, Rach does as well, we all do, we all…
RM: And James’ lessons, I take them all! [laughter]
CR: But, you know, and it’s that sort of thing, the fact that I’m able to go ‘right, I learnt that here at this time, with Lisa as a lecturer or someone else as a lecturer’, and I’ve been able to then transfer that and repeat it, it’s meaning it’s stayed with me, and that’s what I want my students to be like, I want them to think for themselves, I want them to do their own research, I want them to be actively engaged with whatever text that they have, whether it be something that they’re devising or something that has been written down for centuries, I want them to have the experience that I had here, but a couple of years early.
LAD: Yeah, I think also, one thing that I feel does transfer is the passion for the subject that Edge Hill has. All the subjects actually, the lecturers, we’re very, very passionate about what we do, and hopefully that transfers to the students, and then they go out and they go ‘yeah, this is really exciting! We’re really excited about this, so let’s do some more!’.
EC: I’d also like to say, as well, that not only the content, but the people you meet, it’s kind of testament to that way in which we work collaboratively, that years after we’ve graduated, in different years as well, you meet people on your course here that you can collaborate with, and that you can work professionally with in the future as well, and I think that’s important.
DHJ: I think, going back to your initial question about the courses, it’s the fact that, because I studied Musical Theatre, I would never think when I graduated that this would be the sort of thing that I would be doing, but that’s because Edge Hill makes you transferrable, skill-wise, as an actor, performer… whatever you want to do, they will facilitate what you want to do, and they focus on what you really want to do on your outcome, like what kind of journey you want to take, because it’s different for everyone. People take years out before they even think about going back in to doing it, and that’s what I thought I was gonna do, and I’ve literally just graduated and I’ve gone straight back into doing the work that I love doing, and it was a privilege, but also it’s the fact that you can just go straight back into it and it’s not the fact of you have to go somewhere else, or you have to do your Master, no offence [laughter], and it’s kind of being able to go ‘do you know what, I don’t have to box myself off as a performer in one specific area, I can be versatile’, and that’s what Edge Hill, I think, is great for personally.
SR: Yeah, just to add to that before we actually move on to the next question, when I was here, I graduated, well myself and Elric, graduated in 2008, and when I was doing my dissertation here, there was no Aerial course, there was no Musical Theatre, there was not much, there was Drama, Dance and Physical Theatre, straight Drama and then a few people on a straight Dance course…
LAD: It didn’t stop you doing Aerial in your dissertation!
SR: No, for my dissertation, I wanted different levels, and I wanted to do some Aerial work, and nobody had ever heard of, well, nobody had ever done anything like that here before, and so I went to Lisa, and Lisa went to the appropriate channels, and we had discussions, and because it was relevant to my practise and it was relevant to my dissertation, the department got in one silk, a rig, and everything that I needed to be able to have Aerial performance as a part of my dissertation, and then I also went and did some workshops and training so I was safe to do it. Following on from that, they then did an Aerial module and they’re still doing it now, so even though I came to them before that was even anything that they offered at all, they gave me and provided me with what I needed because it was relevant to my practise.
LAD: One of the things that the company have also done, that maybe you’re not aware of, that actually Edge Hill have supported, they’re still invited in to do things and to work collaboratively, for example with [the] Faculty of Health, we’ve done television masterclasses with a television director and a casting director, and we’ve collaborated with media on that, so on so forth, so opportunities are given to our alumni, and also one of our guys who was filming tonight [there were some people filming the opening show on the Thursday] is a Media student, so that’s an employability opportunity for him, and I was really keen for them to get a third camera in, and I was really keen for them to get a student involved because that’s just another opportunity to enhance that person’s skills.
RT: So, a bit of a short, snappy last question; describe your show in 3 words.
CR: A hilarious play about suicide.
CAST: That’s not 3 words! [laughter]
KHC: Comical… tragic…
LAD: [whispers] Relevant… [laughter]
KHC: … Relevant [more laughter]
Overall, the cast gave me some great reasons why Edge Hill helps performers to thrive, and some interesting insight into their own personal experiences, as well as being lovely to talk to and very funny! I would like to thank them here for this and staying back after their performance so that I could speak to them, even though they were probably tired! Some of the creative team were not involved in this Q&A, so I will list the others below and say congratulations on such a brilliant show:
Mark Curtis: Playwright
Lighting Design and Operation: Dave Forrest
Psychotherapist in Residence: Cathy Vincent
Psychotherapist Supervisor for Lisa Adams-Davey: Janet Higgins
Ethics Advisor: Vicky Karkou
Filming: Alistair Emmett, Daniel Hall and Owen Wheeler
Hello all! I hope you’ve had a good start to October and are enjoying this spooky season (I know I am!).
I am writing this after going to one of the many theatre shows that are performed within Edge Hill itself in the Arts Centre! As a Performing Arts student, I practically live within the Arts Centre, and I couldn’t love it any more. There are so many wonderful rehearsal spaces, teachers who are there whenever you need them, but most of all there’s the Box Office and the lovely staff there to greet you! Here you can book tickets to see theatrical performances of all genres, or screenings of films or shows by the National Theatre or the Royal Shakespeare Company. And as an Edge Hill Uni student, you even get 4 free tickets a semester!
I did two posts previously on what is offered here, which I will link just below:
The main reason I am writing this article is because, although these tell you the fabulous stuff that you can be a part of within the Arts Centre, I’ve never given a full example of the kind of show you can see at the Arts Centre. There are comedies, tragedies, contemporary performances and classics. The one I’ll be reviewing is Red Carpet by the Confiança Collaborative Theatre Co., which was an intriguing collective of humour, dark and sensitive subject matter and amazing visuals!
The Confiança Collaborative Theatre Co. base their work around mental health issues which are very much not talked about in society- although we’ve come a long way with mental health awareness, it is still very taboo in many ways in society, so I think their work is much needed within such an expressive and meaningful medium as theatre. This show in particular has been scheduled at Edge Hill to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week, with the first performance occurring yesterday at 6pm, the second and third occurring today at 2:30pm and 7:30pm and the last performance occurring on Saturday at 7:30.
Red Carpet, as described by the company, is “a comedy, a drama… a tragedy, a life!”. If I was to describe the show myself in a short sentence like that, it’d definitely be “a creative, funny, yet heartbreaking way to show the effects of depression and mental illness”. But it was so much more than that! Once the doors were open, we were allowed to walk into the Rose Theatre, where it was being performed, and was greeted by an amazing set of cascading white fabric on either side of the stage, littered with cans of soup, shopping baskets and other common life debris, a wedding dress hanging from the ceiling paired with red flowers, and what appeared to be a cafe. At the back stood the character of Susan, the main role in this play, eating slices of toast.
Once everyone was in and the show was starting, the opening scene showed a cafe day unfolding, laced with silly and pun-based humour. It was a lovely, lighthearted opening which introduced several of the characters beautifully, and this humour paved the way for the darker subject matter within the play to be performed and not leave the audience feeling miserable upon leaving the theatre- something that is super important when it comes to creating material based around mental health!
The afore-mentioned ‘darker subject matter’ surrounds the character of Susan, and the fact she has been suffering from depression, and has attempted to take her own life. The thing I loved the most about this play is that you don’t get all the information about what happened and what is happening onstage from the start- you piece things together from different scenes and I even learnt knew things about all the characters right in the very last few seconds of the play. This lends itself perfectly to the less comical moments, as you hear her family and friends talking to her in the hospital, which both gives you more of an idea of what happened, and also eases the audience into topics that might otherwise be jolting to an audience upon surfacing.
Overall, I will not hesitate to say that this is one of the best, creative and well-handled pieces of contemporary theatre and performance I have ever seen. Being someone who loves anything that promotes such a good thing as mental health awareness and also loves performances that have a dark edge to them, maybe it played right into my hands, but this is definitely the type of play that has something for everyone.
So, if you are interested in seeing one of the many performances on offer at the Uni and are around or close to Edge Hill for the performance tomorrow at 7:30 I’d recommend you do! Of course, it’s not the only genre and type of performance you can see at the Uni, but it’ll give you your first insight into what kind of stuff there is! If you are wanting to bring someone under the age of 12 though, they are not permitted due to the nature of the performance- there is some strong language, and obviously some strong subject matter!
Below I’ve linked a follow up to this blog where I talked to the cast about Red Carpet and what Edge Hill offers its students and alumni!