Published: 12 September 2017
For any drama student, getting the right blend of real-life performing, theoretical knowledge and experience to prepare yourself for the future is absolutely crucial to getting as much as possible out of your degree. Here at the University of Sunderland, you’ll be at the centre of a city teeming with culture, working alongside a dedicated and highly skilled team of staff in the ideal surroundings to hone your craft. Lecturer Adelle Hulsmeier gives her five tips to getting the most out of your drama degree.
Take advantage of practical opportunities
At the heart of any drama degree is performing, and getting to grips and mastering your craft is essential to ensuring your future, whether that’s inside or outside of the industry. At Sunderland, an emphasis is placed on practical work throughout. “Our course gives students a vocational experience of the industry,” says Adelle. “It’s weighted at 60% practical and 40% academic for the majority of the modules. I think this really appeals to people looking to go into the industry upon graduation.”
Tailor your course to suit your own interests
Drama is an umbrella term that covers a wide range of different areas. Even if you love the subject, there’s a good chance that you’ll have your own passions and interests that are unique to you. Sunderland allows you to personalise your course, giving you an array of different options. Whether you see yourself treading the boards or treading the floors of a classroom, you’ll be able to build your own course here.
“If you were looking at teaching drama once you graduate, you can take a lot of community educational and applied theatre modules while you’re here,” adds Adelle. “Alternatively, if you wanted to go into performing, you can look at performer, trainer or practitional modules. Even if you’re undecided on exactly what you want to do, you can create an eclectic path and dabble in different areas of performance.”
Get real-life experience to boost your chances of success
To make it in the industry, you have to be the full package and have numerous strings to your bow. This includes having that all important real-life experience as a graduate. At Sunderland, you’ll be given every opportunity to gain that experience and push yourself to the next level as a performer.
“Getting experience is extremely valuable to students, especially those trying to break into the industry,” explains Adelle. “We work with real clients. For example, the Theatre Production modules that students do as part of the Sunderland Festival allows them to go into a professional venue, take over the reigns of that theatre’s professional programme for a four-week period and put on performances that they want.”
Be a part of a cultural centre
For any drama student, having a city which offers you opportunities aplenty on your doorstep is crucial. Here in Sunderland, the Arts and Cultures scene is growing at an exponential rate, giving you every chance to get out and showcase your skills to the wider public. Adelle continues: “We have the bid for the City of Culture in 2021 so the city is undergoing a massive regeneration project. We’re trying to get even more culture into the city which is really putting Sunderland on the map. We’ve already got the Empire Theatre and the National Glass Centre as cultural hubs, but the city is also opening up the Old Fire Station in town as a cultural venue.”
Make sure the University is right for you
Ensuring that the University is right for your development is vital. Adelle’s final piece of advice is clear – make sure that the University is a good fit for you. “The best advice I can give would be to come and see us in advance of starting your course here. It’s as much about us auditioning for you as it is for you auditioning for us.”