Portrait of Merveille Nsumbu

Merveille Nsumbu

Please tell us a bit about yourself, your background etc?

I have lived in London all my life. My introduction to theatre and performance came to me quite late in life however my passion and drive has led me here. There’s nothing I’d rather do- some of my best experiences and memories have come from performing with friends and collaborating with theatre companies. My greatest passions are film watching and making, live comedy, writing and cooking.

Did you take part in the Access to Leeds programme? If so, please tell us more about the programme and how useful it was to you.

The Access to Leeds was important to my assimilation in Leeds. The programme recognises the impact of the socio-economic background of a certain individual and enables students’ opportunities that are not or would be accessible to them. The team are very friendly and the first faces I met when I came to Leeds which made me feel welcome and settled straight away.

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

The BA Theatre and Performance course at Leeds offers a diverse and comprehensive exploration of the subject. Apart from its incredible reputation compared to other courses, the lecturers are dedicated and enthusiastic about what they teach, which has made an impression on me since my interview. I have always enjoyed drama since secondary education but studying this course at Leeds has confirmed for me a vocation that I want to pursue once I graduate. I have no worries about looking for a job after university, the University of Leeds puts a strong emphasis on career support, as well as the amazing range of networks I have been able to establish since arriving.

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

Writing has always been a creative outlet for me. Theatre and Performance at Leeds allows me to explore other positions such as acting and stage management. My area of study is so diverse and each week I feel like I am always learning something new. I can tailor the course to my interests and specialise in certain areas.

What aspects of the course do you enjoy the most?  

There is a safe space for creative exploration here. Self-directed lessons each week give us total control and responsibility for the performances we produce. I really trust in the lecturers that we have here, as they have years of expertise and experience. I believe every bit of constructive feedback that I receive is improving my craft.

What would you say about Leeds as a city?

With Channel 4’s recent announcement to move to the city, Leeds is a great example that you don’t have to stay in London to be able to utilise the same opportunities. To anyone from a big city to a small town, coming to a big university such as Leeds is a rewarding experience. Even with its size, you can find your own pocket of friends from all walks of life here. Given the number of universities in the city, there is a very student-feel and youthful energy wherever you go. Leeds has a rich history and is not short of great places to explore and visit.

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

The University invest a lot of money into the learning facilities here. The libraries on campus have an extraordinary range of reading that supports my learning. Being able to book a room or dance studio out of school hours is also very helpful. The LUU Support and Help prioritise the well-being of students which is so important and a vital resource to every student that comes here.

Have you taken part in any activities outside of your studies (e.g. student societies, course rep, student intern, local groups/initiatives)?

I have been very active in my first and second year here at Leeds. For example, I am currently a social secretary for the school’s society as well as a Leeds Loves ambassador. I continue to write and maintain a blog which I co-author with a friend from another university. All of these activities, within the school’s boundaries and out, have enabled the development of new skills and friendships.

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

Definitely take the leap of faith. If you love to learn new things and want to advance your knowledge of theatre and performance and what those things can be, come and be a part of that process!

Tell us about your accommodation and your experience of living in Leeds

Last year I lived in student accommodation which was really fun. The process of moving and paying my way was a lot easier than I thought. This year and next, I get to live with two live people on my course which just goes to show how strong the friendships I have been to make here can be.

What do you plan to do once 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 am currently considering doing a placement year or continuing with further education once I graduate, though the prospect of getting out there and starting a job is challengingly exciting. Other than evidencing commitment, the range of skills and experience I would not have been able to gain without the course will really make me stand out. Having a degree will really raise my profile once I have finished my course.