Portrait of Xiao Xiao

Xiao Xiao

Please tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

I studied my undergraduate degree at the University of China, BA Lighting Art in Communication. As part of my undergraduate degree I also studied Media and Communication, for one semester in Uppsala University in Sweden. I have done some working experience in theatres, as a lighting technician, and in TV stations as a director, these have been mostly internships and volunteer work.

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

When I was about to graduate, I was facing two options, to work and to further my study. I wanted to work in theatres, galleries or museums so I decided to study the MA Performance Design course. It is not only relevant to my future career, but also an interesting course that I like so much. What’s more, University of Leeds is an international university with good reputation. The education here is so different from China. I believe that I can gain a more international insight in Leeds.

What is it that makes you passionate about your area of study?

I like theatre works such as musicals and plays, and all ‘staging’ performances. I have seen a lot of performances so far. I have learnt theatre in my undergraduate studies, so it is a continuing interest for me. I like to express myself and I believe that theatre is a place where I can communicate with my audience.

What aspects of the course did you enjoy the most? 

The modules introduced brand new knowledge to me, including new theories I didn’t know before. I like many different forms of performances which the course brought to my world. Furthermore, I love the teaching. We are only 11 students on this program, both full-time and part-time. We are encouraged to have active participation during lectures and seminars. Both the professors and peer students help a lot and always give encouragements.

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

They are pretty good. As a PCI student, we are offered a variety of learning facilities. We have an amazing costume store where we can hire props, costumes and studios for practices and rehearsals. The libraries and computer clusters are helpful, too.

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

I regularly work as an employability intern with our assistant school education service manager, Antony. I didn’t expect that I can get the position at all, so many thanks to the officers! At present, we are preparing an employability event called ‘Dream and Achieve’, aimed at inspiring undergraduates in their future careers. I help with advertising. Antony is a very nice and interesting person and he always does brilliant work! The internship is fun and helping others makes me happy. As a result, I feel being trusted by other students in the School. That’s great!

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

There are a lot of things to do including joining student union societies. I took part in many GIAG activities and joined swing dance society too, it is a great way to unwind. You can also take a trip arranged by the union on weekends.

For social activities, you can go to, Global Cafe, language exchange, the living room, international student club, to name a few. These are all meet-up for international students.

I like performances, so I always go to theatres and galleries in the city. Leeds Playhouse and Leeds Grand Theatre are good options. They offer ‘pay as you decide’ performances, such as Slung Low productions, as well as free workshops.

If some students want to make the most of their day, there are many volunteer opportunities. Doing some voluntary work can make you feel fulfilled and we can also get many practical skills. Highly recommended!

What do you plan to do when 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 plan to work, either in the UK or in my home country. There is no doubt that the skills and knowledge I’ve gained will help me become more competitive in the job market and I hope this will help me to secure a job in the area.

What would you say to anyone thinking of applying to your course?

I strongly recommend the MA Performance Design. This course is fun and the university is lovely. An interesting performance world is waiting for you to discover; a colourful life is waiting for you to explore!