student headshot

Cyrill Apelo

Please tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

When I turned 21 in March an outrageously obvious thought shattered my brain – I’ve been alive for 21 years. It doesn’t seem long I know but following my parent’s migration to the UK from the Philippines my youth was consumed with county youth orchestra rehearsals, violin practice, travelling to exotic and foreign countries and watching movies. Sciences and philosophy have always fascinated me too. You may start to think my background is a straightforward stereotype but the pleasure, elation and growth these things gave me has shaped me into the performer and man I have become.

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

The course is diverse, and Leeds was a city I had never visited. Looking through the prospectus in year 13, the course offered many avenues to explore theatre and performance some I had never considered, like being able to witness live court trails being one of them. This was the reason I applied. The courses’ academic and practical diversity, mixed with the idea of Leeds being my home for the next three years was exciting to me.

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

Passionate I think is an interesting word. Passion can come out in many different forms. Through reading a book, acting in a play, meeting new creative individuals, examining theatrical, creative, and inspiring practitioners. All these things are what make me passionate about theatre and performance because it enables my investigative nature to thrive. It allows me to be my most authentic self – always learning, always growing, always striving to reach my full potential.

What aspects of the course did you enjoy the most? 

Surprisingly, the essays. I’ll admit I’m not the best academically but during my time here, especially in this final year, has opened my eyes to the importance of essay writing and researching. It has engulfed my outlook on why writing and reading, generally speaking, is so vital. To think critically about issues and topics and give responses to those very things, whether good and bad, extreme to mild is a valuable tool of life. This concept of thinking critically has become part of daily life in Leeds and everywhere else I go.

What has been the most surprising thing about coming to Leeds?

The architecture. Brotherton library and Parkinson steps comes to mind. Some of the buildings are so beautifully built sometimes I am in awe when I have a clear view. And also that J.R.R. Tolkein lived here, later became a professor and was influenced by the city to create ideas for The Hobbit.

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

Overall, the learning facilities are of a high standard. Tutors are there to help and have a genuine interest in your academic and personal successes. The Skills@library sessions are also very useful. There have been times where library seat spaces have been limited but if you linger long enough you’ll be able to find one.

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

Considering my past experience in acting (limited to school productions prior to coming to University), the theatre societies have fed my acting bug. The gym, local pubs, clubs and events are also available for anyone interested in that sort of thing.

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

Really think about what you truly want to get out of your time at university. Leeds offered an exceptional amount of academia in terms of essay writing and developing skills for the future, like collaborative teamwork. There is little specialised training however, so if you want to train as an actor you’d be better off applying straight to drama school.

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 plan on discovering more about myself in terms of what I want in life. The goal is to create work that adds value, that inspires people to look beyond the external resources of life and hopefully see a representation of themselves or on some smaller scale at least relate to the thing being created. I hope to do this through acting as it is a craft that’s often overlooked for its intrinsic value to modern human society. My time here in Leeds has facilitated my drive to want to pursue this as a career and even someday expand from that to hopefully influence others in a way that is bigger than myself.