- Course: MA Performance Design
Please tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
I graduated from the Central Academy of Drama as an undergraduate. And during my undergraduate studies, I often did work on theatre, film and commercials, mainly working on costume and make-up tasks. After graduating, I continued to take part in performances in different theatres and sometimes in television. During my time involved in work, I was exposed to fashion design. I wanted to expand my design thinking and incorporate design concepts from the fashion sector into my designs, so I studied a course at Kingston University in London on Creative Practice in Fashion. After graduating, I came to study at the University of Leeds as I particularly liked the content set out on the Performance Design course at the University and developed my interests during my time at Leeds.
What made you want to apply to your Masters course and to Leeds?
Leeds is a very comfortable city for me, the campus is very beautiful and the surrounding life is particularly convenient, and there are many art galleries. Before applying, I took a closer look at what was being taught about performance design. I found it to be very comprehensive and perfectly suited to my research interests. Because I liked Dr Joslin McKinney at the time, she was responsible for some work that was of great interest to me and I thought she was excellent, I became curious about her teaching and I thought it would be very rewarding to study with her. I then learned about Scott Palmer's area of research. I found it surprising and amazing that both teachers' research was something I was interested in and wanted to try, so Leeds was the fated choice.
What is it that makes you passionate about your area of study?
I have always had a passion for the theatre industry myself, which stems from my interest. I often work in theatre performance and watch theatre performances. I also enjoy watching installations to expand my knowledge in the field of theatre performance design. I like to see the industry from a different perspective.
What aspects of the course are you enjoying the most?
My most favourite aspect of the course is the teaching model that uses practice and theory in tandem with each other, which perfectly matches my interests and fills in the gaps in my knowledge. Through a series of creative experiments, my creative mind has been opened up and supported by theory, which has given me a broader understanding of performance design.
In addition, the course is very diverse, open and creative. It gave me the freedom to develop my ideas and the course was very inclusive, allowing me to incorporate what I had learnt previously into my performance design. It was also amazing to see the collaboration and communication between the students, not only to develop our own collaboration, hands-on and thinking skills, but most importantly to create new possibilities for collaborative projects by working with each other who come from different backgrounds.
What would you say about the learning facilities in your School and at the University in general?
The facilities are excellent, with performance equipment, prop rooms, costume rooms, rehearsal rooms and more available to meet your needs. The staff are also very supportive in terms of what you need to be able to do. Another thing I like most about the university is the library. The online library is very easy to use and easy to find research resources, while the offline library has many different study rooms with a great learning atmosphere and I get great support in my studies.
Did you work closely with a particular tutor or member or the University’s academic staff? Tell us about that experience.
I was pleasantly surprised by every staff member regarding the Performance Design course. The staff at the theatre, during my acting practice, took care of everything I needed. They were very nice and when I encountered difficulties, they would find a way to help me out, which is something that touched me a lot. I was often impressed by how serious they were about their work and became even more committed to my practice work to live up to the help they gave me. Dr Joslin McKinney and Dr Scott Palmer are both very professional leaders in the field of performance design, and you can always talk to them if you have questions. They give very detailed feedback and give a lot of support based on the parts you are interested in, and in the process, you don't feel limited in your creative thinking or interests, but rather better expanded.
What other activities are available for students to take part in outside of their studies, and which ones have you tried out yourself?
The university organises a wide range of activities and gives many opportunities for volunteering or work. The university also organises performances, parties and entertainment. In addition to my studies, I often go to galleries and museums to see exhibitions. This has enriched my study life.
What do you plan to do when you’ve finished your course, and how do you think the skills and knowledge you’ve developed/are developing at Leeds will help with these plans?
I have received excellent academic support and practical skills at the University and have gained new insights into the field of performance design, opening up my mind. I hope that I will continue to develop my interests and contribute to this field.
And, I hope that one day in the future I can also be a part of promoting more collaboration between the University and the theatre industry in China. Because the content of performance design is really interesting, I would like to share it with as many people as possible to make the field more accessible to performance design enthusiasts.
What would you say to anyone thinking of applying to your course?
It is highly recommended to apply for this creative course, which will help you to open your mind and develop your interests in a way that will surprise you in unexpected ways. Also, the teachers and the technical department staff are very nice and helpful during your studies, you will be well supported in your work and you will become good friends with them!