Abrehet semra

Abrehet Semra

What made you want to apply to your course and to Leeds?

I’ve known for a long time that theatre is a strong passion of mine. I wanted to go down a more practical route and start work but I also enjoy the academic study of theatre, the theories and practices and the global arts scene. I really enjoy learning languages, and Arabic is close to my culture and heart. So, I knew that studying a Joint Honours was the correct course for me.

What would you say about the learning facilities in your School and at the University in general?

The School of Performance and Cultural Industries is a great place to gain practical experience. Stage@leeds is an amazing asset to the university and the theatre courses. It is equipped with multiple auditoriums and professional equipment that we are allowed to use and learn from.

What other activities are available for students to take part in outside of their studies (e.g. societies), and which ones have you tried out yourself?

There are loads of societies that students can join. If you’re sporty, you can join a sports society or use the Edge gym. There are seasonal events on campus and always room at the Old Bar for a quiet drink. There are social gatherings organized by various societies, like ACS, Black Fem Soc, LGBTQIA+ society etc. You can meet other like-minded students and it gives you a reason to go out and do new things.

Did you take a work placement or study abroad year? If so, how did you find this experience and what have you gained from it?

I lived in Morocco for a year as part of my Arabic course. I had such an amazing time settling into the new environment and culture. I learned about myself and realised that no matter how different a new environment is, I can always adapt and learn how to cope. I met so many new people, some of which I am still close friends with. Morocco felt like a second home to me during my time there.

Have you been involved with a performance project, lecture or seminar you particularly enjoyed and what did you take from the session?

I was part of a performance project in my third year. However, despite the difficulties presented by lockdown, my partner and I delivered a transmedia performance with recordings, light and projection. It was filmed and also seen by an audience virtually. I learned that theatre can survive in non-traditional formats.

What do you plan to do now you’ve finished your course, and how do you think the skills and knowledge you’ve developed at Leeds will help with these plans?

I hope to travel and work in theatres in different countries. I think Leeds has made me very adaptable to new environments and forced me to really stretch my creative mind. I’ve learned new styles and techniques; I’ve learned about practitioners and the history of certain forms of theatre. On the Arabic side of my course, I have learned a great deal about Islam and even Islamic performance, which is an interesting combination of the two sides of my course.

What would you say to prospective students looking to study at Leeds?

Theatre and Performance at Leeds opens up so many opportunities for you to expand your knowledge and practical skills. If you choose to study here, you’ll be making a good choice for your future.

The professors in particular are focused on delivering an experience at Leeds as fruitful and rewarding as possible. The professors in the theatre department have worked in many different places and have experience in all sorts of industries.

No matter what happens or where you go, theatre is accessible and open to anyone. It may be hard, but you can get to where you want to be, degree or no degree, that’s what is so amazing about this industry. If you do get into Leeds be sure to make the most of your time here and if not, it is not the end of your journey. Be adaptable and persistent and you’ll, hopefully, be where you want to be.