What have you been doing since you left us?
Essentially, I only left DHSB in 2010 but have had a very busy time since. Last year I graduated with a First Class BA (hons) in Drama from the University of Exeter. However, whilst at the University it was the extra-curricular experiences that were most rewarding. In my final fourteen months I was privileged enough to be asked to act as Musical Director for five musicals (Little Shop of Horrors, The Sorcerer, Copacabana, The Pirates of Penzance, Little Women) two of which were performed at the Northcott Theatre (the main professional theatre) in Exeter and one of which (Copacabana) that had a budget of £20,000. This side of theatrical production was one which I was only just beginning to introduce myself to in my final year at DHSB but I have loved developing my abilities to fulfil this role and to work with an amazing variety of exceptionally talented people.
In addition, I performed in a multitude of productions: a lead dancer in Karl Orff’s ‘Carmina Burana’ (Northcott Theatre), Ron Taylor in ‘BatBoy – the Musical’, Dexter in ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie (Northcott Theatre). In the summer of 2012 I was one of the lead actors (playing an eccentric Sherlock Holmes) for the Devon component of the ‘Battle for the Winds’ which was a large-scale collaboration between the seven southernmost counties performed on Weymouth beach to an audience of thousands (and international live TV audience in Hungary) to launch the sailing events at the Olympic Games. This project involved working alongside professional theatre companies including The Desperate Men, Cirque Bijoux and Kneehigh and led to the establishment of strong connections among the local and regional theatre network.
Last summer I played the lead role of Gilbert in a new show, Gilbert and Sullivan: The Musical, at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The show ran for two weeks, received four-star reviews and was picked up by MusicalTalk, the UK’s foremost musical theatre podcast, for an hour long interview.
Those are some of the highlights of my time at the University of Exeter – of course the degree itself was also hugely interesting and very broad-ranging. Some of the modules I studied included the history of theatre in the UK and Europe, digital theatrecrafts (technical theatre), playwriting, applied theatre theory (i.e. theatre for development, theatre in education, dramatherapy etc.), analytical approaches (post-colonialism, new historicism, cultural materialism, post-structuralism etc.) and ended with a dissertation which took the form of ‘a phenomenological analysis of the effects of music on people with dementia’ – just further demonstrating the value of drama as an area of study.
This year I have gone on to do a PGCE in Secondary English, still at the University of Exeter, with the aim of pursuing my love of education and I was lucky enough to be appointed as a Teacher of English at Hele’s School in Plympton.
I definitely wouldn’t have had the opportunity to embrace all these opportunities without DHSB so really this message is a thank you!