- Course: MA Applied Theatre and Intervention
- Year of graduation: 2021
From a very young age, I have had a passion for the arts, particularly for performance; this personal connection helped me become confident as a child and was constantly in awe at the results of creative people collaborating in a safe space.
Studying acting at college was where I began to see the true therapeutic potential of theatre. I discovered a world where theatre could be used as a tool for social change and help people express themselves.
I went on to study Drama and Theatre Practice at the University of Hull, where I focused on drama therapy and theatre in prisons. This element of my academic journey prompted me to conduct a more in-depth investigation into the benefits of using theatre to achieve various goals. Regardless of whether the goal was to bring about social change, improve health and wellbeing, or enhance the educational experience.
I have very recently started working at The Jorvik Viking Centre in York as an Interactive Host. This role is a fantastic way to explore current debates through education and factually correct historical information: centred thematically around the Viking Age. My work encourages me to enhance the visitor experience through performance and character building.
For a while, I was an Activities Coordinator in an advanced dementia care home; I was able to use the skills I gained through my studies to enhance the wellbeing of those living in the care home through meaningful activities and sessions.
As part of my dissertation project at Leeds, I had the opportunity to speak to professionals within this field of work and learn about their thoughts and experiences.
Consequently, this enabled me to focus on the challenges and benefits of using effective techniques within a dementia care setting. Despite the challenges that accompanied this job, I found it highly rewarding and piqued my interest in pursuing my studies further in the future.
How do you think the skills and knowledge you developed at Leeds helped with your career success?
I found that this course helped me significantly in two specific areas. Firstly, I received much academic support relating to accessible literature, examples of work in the field, and visits from industry professionals through Zoom.
Secondly, as a practitioner, I was able to look at my work ethic and values and developed my skills through in-person workshops and self-reflective exercises. It was a personal journey, as much as an academic one, that I firmly believe has helped me be more aware of myself as a practitioner and a student.
What made you want to apply to your course and to Leeds?
After taking some time out after studying my degree in Theatre Practice and working within the field, I felt I needed to learn more to take my next steps. I was looking for knowledge, experience, and guidance, or in other words: everything I received from this course.
What aspects of the course did you enjoy the most?
The mentors. As I completed the course during the COVID-19 pandemic, like most of my peers, I spent a lot of time confined, attending lectures on Zoom and Microsoft Team from my bedroom! Fortunately, the mentors were so supportive, motivational, and genuine.
They helped guide us, and I found that this encouraged me to reach out to other industry professionals.
In addition, the unusual circumstances meant that I could spend much of my time attending workshops, seminars, and talks online that if it were in-person, is something I may not have had the chance or the means to do otherwise. All of these things were invaluable experiences, and as a result, I learned much from them.
Though the physical elements of my studies were brief, I quickly realised that the University had many spaces to offer that were welcoming and useful. The libraries are beautiful, although there are also various spaces to study in that cater to all study types.
I felt like I was part of a very supportive online community and knew that if I needed help with anything, I could go to course leaders, my personal mentor, or the wellbeing group. There was a very active and diverse community off and online, for which I was very thankful.
Leeds, in general, is a remarkable place: full of culture and positive energy. The nightlife is fantastic, but there are also other options of entertainment to cater for all. Through this course, peers and I could explore the University of Leeds further. It was an ideal way to learn about all the good and inventive things in action in Leeds.
What would you say to anyone thinking of applying to your course?
Absolutely do it. If you let it, this course can be a wonderful learning journey where you are guaranteed to gain friends, contacts, and opportunities.