Why study Writing, Directing and Performance?

Hello and welcome to my first blog! My name is Roxanne, and I’m a second year studying Theatre: Writing, Directing and Performance (WDP). As one of the Student Ambassadors in the department, I’m so excited to be able to share with you how our department works!

A couple of weeks ago my brother came to visit me shortly after our Christmas break. Aside from the usual touristy attractions of York, he was also interested in having a look at the place in which I studied. As a mathematical-biologist, he had always been sceptical about the world of a TFTV student. I didn’t think much as we walked through the automatic double doors, simply following a route that has become habitual over the last two weeks. But, as I noticed his amazed stares, I was able to once again see the department as if for the first time.

First impressions

When you first enter the department you are immediately embraced by the sudden calm after having escaped the Campus East winds. The foyer is an impressive, asymmetrical space, with towering walls of white and lime green plastered with posters. The multi-level space is further broken up by wood panels and glass. Lights are rigged all through the foyer, ready for whatever event the department may be hosting that weekend. There always seems to be something going on, something to do, something to see. Often, it feels as though the performance begins before you even enter the theatre.

The department is usually buzzing with activity. Students from each course and each year intermingle and work with each other. Both on their coursework and on extra-curricular activities. The space is full of comfortable sofas and tables for students to work and socialise at, snacking on flapjacks from the vending machine.

Incredible facilities

But the experience doesn’t end in the foyer; each course has its own incredible facilities. WDP students have access to two incredible theatre spaces, two spacious rehearsal rooms, numerous dressing rooms and a costume cupboard. Film and TV Production (FTP) students have two filming studios and a lab for sound design and video editing (for people who actually know how to use computers). Plus, a Foley suite that has everything you need to create sound effects to a professional standard. Interactive Media (IM) students also have access to this, as well as their own studio. The building is also littered with seminar rooms – on more than one occasion the department has been nicknamed “The Warren”.

Your course, however, does not limit the spaces you can use. As long as you have the correct training, all of these facilities will be at your disposal. I know many IM students use the film studio and FTP students practice in the Black Box theatre. Plus, those studying WDP often find themselves in the computer labs for developing their own sound and marketing designs. No matter what you study, for your three years (or more, if you decide to take your studies further), this department is truly yours, and you will have a bounty of opportunities to develop your skills.

Supportive staff

With so much going on in this department, I must admit that at first, I was overwhelmed. But all of the staff here at the department were hugely supportive when I was just settling in and still are, as we get ever closer to putting on our first big project. From those at reception to our department technicians (who are arguably some of the funniest people in the building), right up to our lecturers and department heads, you will always be able to find a friendly face to turn in whenever you’re in need of a chat.

My current supervisor, Karen, is one of the most motivating and accommodating lecturers I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. In our supervision session, we’ve been able to discuss everything from my grades, my housing situation, and even department gossip. Not once have I felt like I’ve asked a stupid question and I always feel my opinions are valid. I know many other students feel comfortable talking about a whole host of subjects with their supervisors. Even those that are more personal and relate to mental health and I have heard that they’ve all been met with the same support that I received from Karen.

I would like to round off by saying that I hope this post has helped you some way and gives you a feel for the department. I am excited for those who will be joining us in the years to come and meeting you all.

My first year at TFTV