Head shot of Eliza Jones

Eliza Jones

Please tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

I am a third year Theatre and Performance student originally from SW London. As every theatre kid I originally wanted to be an actor and performer but realised through school that my real passion was in production and directing. I have also always had a passion for teaching and spent a year before university as a drama and music technician at a secondary school.

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

I have always had a passion for theatre and performing but realised at A level how diverse the uses and applications of theatre can be. The theatre course at Leeds offered a really wide range of options though the theatre and performance modules and the discovery modules in other subject areas. This really appealed to me as it allowed me to choose my own path within the course and specialise in my chosen areas. It also allowed space within the course to try new things and explore new options.

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

Theatre and performance is one of the most diverse art forms and can be used in any country with any purpose. I am extremely passionate about the accessibility of theatre and how it subverts boundaries. I believe that theatre should be supported in education and within communities around the world because of its ability to bring people together. Theatre is also so complex and diverse that it can be used to teach and communicate in hundreds of different ways and I believe it is an incredibly underutilised tool.

What aspects of the course did you enjoy the most?  

I thoroughly enjoy that within this course you are able to explore every aspect of performance, it gave me new opportunities to experiment with stage management in first year while not committing to it for the entirety of the degree. As well as this I enjoy that you are able to choose how practical or theoretical to make your degree, the way you choose your optional modules dictates the balance of the degree. I also particularly enjoy that within theory modules such as Interpreting Theatre Histories, the content is taught in a practical way which allows for the exposure to more diverse methods of teaching.

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

I was surprised by how immediately at home I felt in Leeds, not just within the university but within the city. Leeds has an excellent mix of a lively and cultural city centre and the quiet and picturesque countryside. I find that everything is within walking distance and despite living off campus for all three years, I have never felt out of touch with the city. As well as this, because Leeds University Union has so many societies and events, there is always something to do.

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

One of the best things about doing Theatre and Performance at Leeds is stage@Leeds which is the building where the School is based but also a fully functional working theatre. This means we have access to a completely dedicated and professional team of technicians who work tirelessly to help make our productions and ideas come to life. As well as this, working in a fully functional theatre means there are always productions coming on tour to Leeds meaning we have exposure to professional productions throughout the year.

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 so many ways to get involved in societies at Leeds, our union offers over 400 different societies with five of them dedicated only to theatre and musical theatre. As well as this the union are always willing to help start new societies if there is a gap in the market so you will definitely find something to get involved with. Additionally, the School of Performance and Cultural Industries also has its own society which is dedicated to its students and creating a sense of community across undergraduates and postgraduates. I have tried out a few of these societies and have thoroughly enjoyed my experience within them but found that I got involved more with activities outside of the university. I found that the tutors in the School are always very willing to include students in their own projects and have got many contacts that they are happy to share with you if you are interested.

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

One thing that can be guaranteed with this course is that you will never be bored, the course offers a range of different styles and approaches that allow you to develop a well-rounded knowledge of theatre. While it is not a training course for acting or production, with the facilities and teaching we have access to there is definitely scope to hone particular skills. Overall Leeds allows you to develop your own views and style of performance through informed exposure to a large range of performance styles.

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?

Since before coming to university, my plan has always been to become a drama teacher and what I have learned at Leeds has solidified this a lot. I have decided however, that immediately post university I would like to travel and work within theatres and schools around the world. This has been encouraged by the team at Leeds because their experience and contacts have inspired me to look outside of my comfort zone. I am now extremely excited at the prospect of improving my current knowledge through experience and then using that later in life to teach and inform students.