Student smiling into camera

Eva Lafontan

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Please tell us a bit about yourself and your background? 

Before University, I had spent half of my life in the UK and the other half in France. No matter where I was though, I was always involved in artistic activities: whether it was theatre, dance, drawing or music, being creative was what I loved the most! Because of the way the French school system works, I never studied drama or performance at school, instead focusing on scientific subjects like chemistry, but studying plays in English was always my favourite. 

Why did you choose to study your particular course and why did you choose the University of Leeds? 

I knew that I wanted to explore a wide range of roles and aspects within theatre. I loved performing, but I also wanted to direct and choreograph, as well as design sets and lighting and maybe even teach; the BA in Theatre and Performance at Leeds offered the opportunity to do so. I was also drawn to the split between academic and practical work that the course offers and the fact that I could decide whether to focus more on practice or theory depending on the modules I chose. 

What has been the best aspect of your course so far? 

What’s great about the course is its variety: no matter what aspects of theatre you’re interested in, you can pursue them, whilst also discovering something completely different if you want! I’ve been able to direct, perform, design costumes, design lighting, make props, create workshops and work on marketing, all of which I have really enjoyed. The tutors and PCI technical staff are always really supportive and happy to help if you want to try something new! 

Can you tell us about some of the exciting projects you have completed as part of your degree? 

The nature of the course means that there are so many projects to get involved in. In my final year, we created a full scale show from start to finish in two months. There were less than 20 of us in the group, so we each took on multiple jobs within the production. It was a great opportunity to learn about working collaboratively in a professional environment. 

Have you worked closely with a particular tutor or member or the University’s academic staff? Tell us about that experience.  

In my second year, one of my modules focused on creating educational performances for museums in partnership with the Leeds Discovery Centre, led by Dr Amelia Knowlson. I really enjoyed the module and it inspired my dissertation, so I often went to her with any questions throughout the process. Recently, we worked together on a workshop for local disadvantaged college students who were interested in studying theatre at university. I got to draft the workshop brief and help organise the event with Amelia which was a great experience. 

What activities outside of your studies were you involved in? 

This year, I have been on committee for Open Theatre Society which puts on student-written plays and experimental performances. Some of the performance societies also offer the opportunity to take shows to the Edinburgh Fringe every year, something which I will be doing for the second time this summer. 

Outside of theatre, I have been part of Yoga Society and Leeds Student Radio where I co-hosted a radio show about sustainability. There are over 300 societies at the Union, so there’s something for everyone! 

What would you say to students thinking about studying your course? 

If you’re interested in any aspect of theatre and performance, then you should definitely apply! I’m so happy I ended up in Leeds: it’s a great city, a fabulous University and the course is so varied that you will definitely find something that you’re interested in, even if it’s not what you expected! 

What does Leeds as a city have to offer students? 

Leeds is such a great city: it has a fantastic cultural scene, from gigs and theatres to museums and galleries, some of which I’ve been able to work with throughout my degree. It’s big enough that there’s always something going on but not too big that you feel overwhelmed by everything. There’s something so welcoming about the city and everyone is so friendly! 

What do you plan to do once you graduate?  

I’m really interested in the educational power of theatre and performance, so I’m looking at doing a Masters where I can continue researching and creating applied theatre and workshops. I’m not completely set on it though and I can see myself doing a lot of different things after graduation! 

What experiences at Leeds do you think will help in securing a graduate role following graduation? 

I’ve been able to work on lots of creative projects, all of which have taught me so much about collaborative work and the creative industries. Being able to work with other people is such an important skill, especially in creative spaces, and my course and extra-curricular activities have provided me with so many collaborative experiences.