Many establishments offering Theatre advertise their links with professional practitioners and often boast about exciting opportunities for students to take part in. But how do you know that it’s not too good to be true?
I’m only in my fifth term of university, and we’ve already been offered so many masterclasses that I’ve lost count! From Oliver Ford Davies to Joe Walker, we are constantly given the chance to rub shoulders with high profile industry professionals and gain valuable hints and tips about making it in our chosen field.
One of the most memorable masterclasses was recently given by York Alumni Simon Stephens (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) and Nick Payne (Constellations). Their interview of each other was hilarious and insightful, whilst Simon Stephen’s reading of his new play Sea Wall inspired us all.
Theatre, TV and video game director Kate Saxon also gave a unique masterclass about working across different mediums. The best thing is that the masterclasses are open to all of the degree programmes in the Department of Theatre, Film and Television (TFTV). So everyone benefited from learning about her very varied experience!
Platform is the interdepartmental society of TFTV. You automatically become a member of at the start of your degree. As well as offering weekly workshops in Scriptwriting and Directing, Platform produces a show every term. This gives students the opportunity to produce, direct, design or act in a play of their choice. This term, we’re doing a stage adaptation of 1984. It’s looking amazing and I really can’t wait for production week!
Links with other courses
TFTV is expanding but it doesn’t change the connections that we have with each other, not only across year groups but also across degrees. We’re constantly involved in each other’s projects. For example, the Film & TV Production short films and Theatre’s 3rd year Independent Group Projects. This is great for getting to know more people at uni and you’re also making industry connections for life.
There are also a continuous collection of projects to get involved in, both internal and external. From staff-directed productions, like David Barnett’s The Crucible, to community theatre projects.
York has a bigger arts scene than you may expect: the York Mystery Plays, Aesthetica Film Festival and York Theatre Royal’s Takeover Festival are just a tiny selection of the events that you can get your teeth into whilst you’re here.
Another incredible part of TFTV are the facilities offered to all degree programmes. Read on for more details!
Theatre’s pride and joy are its two theatres: the Black Box and the Scenic Stage. The Black Box is the more flexible of the two spaces. It can be used for both end-on and in-the-round performances. The lighting rig is scarily sophisticated. But don’t worry, even if you’re not super techy (I’m definitely not) there are plenty of opportunities to get to know your way around and be a pro lighting designer before you know it.
The Scenic Stage Theatre presents one of the most exciting challenges in terms of staging with its unique design. My favourite part of it is the giant under stage area. If you’ve not seen it already, don’t worry… you will!
Hidden away in the TFTV building are the two industry standard TV studios that are full spec and fully soundproof. Both studios come equipped with a full pantograph and trolley lighting system and double cyclorama rails with black, white and green cloths so you can make your shows everything you want them to be. The studios are used by Film and Television students but they’re always on the lookout for actors to cast in their work.
Mainly used by Interactive Media and Film and Television Production degree students, the undergraduate and postgraduate labs come equipped with the latest post-production software for you to achieve the best work possible!
TFTV’s Holbeck Cinema seats 143 people and offers a very comfy venue for the multitude of screenings it holds over the year. Upgradable to 4K and with a state-of-the-art sound system, the cinema looks and sounds amazing. Plus, how many people can say that they have a full-on cinema in their department?
As great as the opportunities and facilities are, they would mean nothing if it wasn’t for the staff. A team of talented lecturers that can never do enough to help us out.
There are too many members of the amazing academic team to highlight them all individually. But it’s true when I say that they are all incredibly talented and hugely dedicated to providing the best education for all students in TFTV.
Being a research-led university, our lecturers not only commit their time to teaching but also exploring their own theories and projects. It’s great to know that we’re being taught by experts in our industries. Plus, let’s face it – it’s pretty cool to read a published work that has the name of one of your lecturers on the front.
Behind the Scenes
Though not always seen by students, TFTV has outstanding administrative and technical teams. They work continuously to keep the department running smoothly. From organising our marks and feedback to keeping us up-to-date with the latest work placements and opportunities. We are constantly provided with the support that we need to make our university lives as fulfilling as possible.
Rob and Frav
Rob and Frav must get their own mention; they are the glue that holds the department (especially Theatre) together. They go above and beyond every day to help as many of us as they can whilst all the while managing to crack a joke about every five minutes.
P.S. Ask Frav to tell you the tractor joke. You’ll probably regret it. Worth it.
There are so many more things to look forward to about Theatre at York, from the classes themselves to the people you get to work with. I wish I could cover it all, but I guess I can’t spoil all the surprises. You’ll just have to come and find them out for yourselves…