Studying Drama at The University of Manchester has been one of the most challenging experiences of my life. That being said, it has also shown me where exactly I want my life to go. Studying any degree comes with it’s challenges. For example, finding a balance between earning money and studying whilst wanting to involve yourself in extra activities is almost impossible. However, the drama department at The University of Manchester really care about accommodating for your needs. This isn’t the case for other subjects. As a third year student – I can say I know a lot about the care the lecturers provide and the course itself. Continue reading if you would like to know the inns and the outs of studying Drama at The University of Manchester.
A lot of people from other subjects are led to believe that studying Drama is all Shakespeare performances and fancy dress. This is not the case. I hate acting and the thought of being placed on stage terrifies me. At The University of Manchester you will perform on stage at some point, however in most cases you can opt to not take a non-performing role. Since first year, I have not had to perform once. The Drama department at The University of Manchester understand that there is more to the subject than just acting.
The variety of modules you get to choose from are outstanding. One day you could be studying how to write a play, and the next you could be analysing Lord of the Rings and why it is considered a ‘fantasy film’. That’s right, there are a variety of film options to choose from. In fact, I study Drama and Screen Studies and haven’t looked at a play since first year. Don’t be put off with the assumption that studying Drama is all about the theatre – it isn’t.
In terms on how the Drama department compares to other subjects – there are no words. The moment I emailed my lecturer that I wanted to drop out of university, he was on the phone to me in minutes asking me if everything is okay. The next day he rearranged his schedule to meet with me to talk through why I was feeling the way I was. He cracked open a packet of biscuits and we talked for about an hour. In this time, not once did he try and persuade me to stay. Instead, it was sort of like a counselling session – a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders after that meeting. The Drama department go above and beyond to make you feel safe and welcome.
I know this is not the same for other subjects. For a course like Law, which has hundreds and hundreds of students, there just isn’t the time for lecturers to get to know each of their students. For some lecturers, their job ends after their last lecture. This isn’t the case for the Drama department. They take a huge role in the Drama related societies and often go and watch shows/ short films in their own time. They really care about your future!
The Drama department at the University of Manchester really care about your future. They go above and beyond to try and encourage you to find what you enjoy and what you want to do with your life. If you’re thinking about continuing to study drama after your degree, every lecturer would be happy to answer any questions. Otherwise, if becoming a freelance actor/playwright/theatre practitioner takes your fancy, the University of Manchester hold so many workshops related to becoming a freelancer. They bring professionals in the field in to answer any questions students might have. In my second year, the drama department hosted a Q&A with actor Toby Jones as he is an alumni of the University of Manchester. It was surreal.
The Drama Society
The Drama society works very closely alongside the Drama department. This is one of the best things about studying drama at the University of Manchester. Any opportunities that the lecturers find out about they pass the information forward and the drama department are very understanding about upcoming performances and the impact it could have on attendance. Of course, you are required to attend everything regardless, but overall the lecturers are very understanding. They also tend to go and watch as many shows as they can. In my opinion, this is a testament to how much they care about their students as opposed to just getting good grades from them.
Anyway, I thought I needed to write this post after all the kindness the lecturers at the University of Manchester have shown me. University wasn’t for me, but that didn’t stop my lecturers trying to make it enjoyable.
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