Emily Taylor portrait

Emily Taylor

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

I found a love for the performing arts through dancing, which I started at three years old. I took GCSE drama and a Performing Arts BTEC alongside two other A levels. The extent of theatre I experienced before university was generally pantomimes and musicals, so the artistic culture of Leeds and this course has really opened my eyes to the world of theatre!

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

Having only explored the practical side of performance, the variety of module topics available attracted me to the opportunity to expand my portfolio of skills and to find out what I enjoy the most with performance. I also really liked the idea of applying theatre and performance to the real world of culture and studying inter-disciplinary topics. Visiting Leeds on an open day reinforced my interest in the course and by experiencing the campus first-hand, realised the remarkable facilities and how welcoming every student and member of staff were. I also realised how much I wanted the chance to explore further and so moving to university at a good distance from home was definitely the best step. Leeds itself also seemed like a big city full of opportunities, which was something I felt was missing back home.

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

I believe that theatre and performance plays a part in everyone’s lives, more than you would expect. I have particularly been interested in the use of drama for education and therapy, and its potential positive effects for individuals with autism.  The overall study of the theatre industry, and the role of performance day to day, highlights the importance of culture within the city and society.

What aspects of the course do you enjoy the most? 

I really enjoy working collaboratively with both staff and students. We are appreciated as individual creatives and always pushed to achieve our best.  Being given the opportunity to create a budgeted performance, we are able to work collaboratively to create a piece that is presented to the public. This is a great way to finalise the course by combining all the skills we have developed, undertaking a role we each have an interest in and create an impressive production in a working theatre. The opportunities to explore your own creativity and link it with your knowledge, all alongside similarly progressing peers are priceless to the overall feel of the course.

What would you say about Leeds as a city?

It’s home to vibrant cultures that vary throughout the city. There are so many cultural places to visit in your spare time, from restaurants and markets to museums and galleries. It is a fantastic hub for cultural activity, especially art, music and theatre. There are multiple locations accessible by train, extending where you visit and experience. I still haven’t seen everything I want to!

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

The ability to use a professional theatre space alongside commercial companies is a fantastic and rare opportunity. There are numerous spaces to develop performance work and try out technical features. With an on-site tech team as well, there is a wide scope for set and tech options, on hand to utilise in practical work. Our school also has an extensive costume store that is great for the final touches and overall aesthetic for a performance. For writing, there are three main libraries that have an immense amount of literature that I have found essential to my work, and are really nice, focussed spaces to work in.

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 a part of a few societies with the student union throughout my time here. I have been both the social secretary and President of the Stage Musicals Society, in which I have played a part in five musicals, as well as assistant directed two shows and co-produced another. I have also performed with the Music Theatre Society and currently co-directing a musical. It was delving into these productions that made me realise what exactly goes into making a show-stopping production, and the efforts needed! These experiences within societies have been priceless to my development as an individual and a student. They are not only great for socialisation, but also time management and planning with the opportunities to lead and put on your own events! I have also been a student ambassador, peer mentor and also performed in a show at the Edinburgh Fringe with a Leeds Alumni theatre company.

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

I would strongly recommend this course and I have learnt invaluable skills and have truly enjoyed my three years of study here. Make sure you read the extent of what is involved with the course as there is a high academic focus, it’s not like a drama school as many people believe. However, I have loved the extensive range of module topics I have taken and had the choice of, and have found the academic premise to challenge me and develop vital skills. Finally, I would honestly say, your time at university is all down to you, so make the absolute most of it and take every opportunity that comes at you.