Portrait of Natalie rawel

Natalie Rawel

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

I studied for an art foundation degree in Graphic Design at Leeds College of Art before coming to the University of Leeds to study BA Theatre and Performance. Having already studied in Leeds for four years I decided that I wanted to stay here for further study. I thoroughly enjoyed my time as an undergraduate at Leeds and saw a Masters as a natural progression. Performance & Culture Industries is a great school to be a part of and the course content fitted in with my interests from my undergraduate studies.

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

I am hugely passionate about theatre and the creation of theatre, and am especially interested in opera and musical theatre. My Masters has allowed me to apply what I learned during my undergraduate studies to the wider cultural and creative industries. I am very interested in how arts organisations survive, especially in this current climate, and how audiences are maintained.

What aspects of the course did you enjoy the most?  

I really enjoyed doing a consultancy project with Opera North, which gave me experience applying everything I had learned to a large arts organisation. I also really enjoyed writing my dissertation as it meant I could focus on an area that was of particular interest to me whilst receiving great support through seminars and from my supervisor. 

What would you say about Leeds as a city?

Leeds is a great place to study, especially when studying the arts. There is a large range of theatres and music venues, many of which offer internships and work experience. Leeds’ location means that other cities and the countryside are also easily accessible.

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

Despite it being such a large university, Leeds has a great sense of community. The range of opportunities on offer are amazing and the focus on internships and work experience placements means that students are well equipped for a career after leaving university.

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

For a theatre student, the School provides everything you need - from a well-stocked costume store to a dance studio. It is very easy to book rehearsal rooms or rent extra resources such as cameras and recording equipment. 

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 many different societies and opportunities for you to get involved in outside of your studies. The Students’ Union is so big that there really something for everyone, you’re interested in extreme sports, media, politics or volunteering. I took part in the Music Society and the Opera Society, which gave me a lot of opportunities to perform. 

During my undergraduate degree I also interned for Opera North, which was an invaluable experience and led to me using them as a case study for my Masters and interviewing staff members from the organisation.

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

That you will learn more than you even realised there was to learn. This course approaches the subject from all angles, covering everything from politics to economics to management. It really will open up the world of the creative and cultural industries, and you will finish the course with a vast range of knowledge that will be invaluable in pursuing a career in these fields. 

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 am currently working as a Marketing Assistant for Harrogate Theatre, and am also working as the producer for a new theatre company based in Leeds. The experience of working on a consultancy project with Opera North and the knowledge I have gained about the cultural and creative industries allowed me to graduate with a good understanding of the politics, economics, and operations of arts organisations.