Unique collaboration brings students closer to theatre careers
Students from the University of Sheffield are working to make their dream careers in theatre a reality through a unique collaboration with Sheffield Theatres.
The ambitious project sees students from the University's School of English team up with industry professionals working at The Crucible to produce The Rover, a classic Restoration comedy by Britain's first professional female playwright, Aphra Benn.
The play will run from 28-31 March 2012 at the University's drama studio and the cast and crew are keen to get the general public along as well as University staff and students. The unique project gives students direct responsibility for designing, stage managing, performing and publicizing a play to the highest industry standards.
Emma Beverley, a third year English Literature and Theatre student aiming to forge a career in creative producing, said: "Working on The Rover has given us an unbelievably rare opportunity within the theatre industry: the chance to work alongside professionals whilst also being able to lead our own projects. Many of us who are taking part in the project will be graduating this semester, and are hoping to chase a career within the theatre industry.
"Whilst this was a difficult career path to follow a few years ago, now, with the recent cuts in the arts, it is a route filled with even more obstacles for us to jump over. Many people are beginning to question the value of arts and humanities courses with the rise of tuition fees. However, working on this project has highlighted to me just how invaluable this degree has been. I very much doubt that without it I would have met half of the people, and been given a quarter of the opportunities, that have come with it."
The students have had the chance to work with Creative Producer Andrew Lorretto, and Creative Director Daniel Evans, both residents of The Crucible. Marieke Audsley, currently resident director at Sheffield Theatres, is directing the production. Her residency at Sheffield Theatres has seen Marieke work on The Way of the World (directed by Lyndsey Turner), Lungs (directed by Richard Wilson) and Othello (directed by Daniel Evans).
Sheffield Theatres and the School of English have wanted to collaborate for some time, and to produce a play was a natural ambition for the partnership, explained Marieke: "It was decided that one of the most exciting things we could do would be to put on a play. As one of the resident assistant directors at Sheffield Theatres I was delighted to be asked to direct it. I owe so much to my own experiences of being involved in plays at university that I really believe in the importance of university drama, and which young director could say no to an offer of putting on a play of their choice with as many actors as they want and in a really beautiful theatre?"
Marieke decided on the Restoration comedy The Rover, having studied it at university herself. The play is a tale of two Spanish sisters who get caught up in the mayhem of a wild Italian carnival - a world of sword fights, mistaken identities, betrayal, crime and love affairs. Rebelling against the future decided for them by their father and brother, the sisters use the freedom of carnival time to forge their own futures.
Professor Stephen Nicholson from the School of English commented: "The School of English has really strong links with the theatre industry, and there are many opportunities for students to take part in workshops or productions with professional practitioners, or just to hear them talk about their work. The production of The Rover is an example of our collaboration with the Crucible, but this year we've also been able to put on a number of half or whole-day workshops run for us by Sheffield Theatres – including one by Daniel Evans on auditioning and one on directing.
"Tim Etchells and Terry O'Connor from Forced Entertainment are both teaching for us, as is Alex Kelly of Third Angel, and in recent years we've had visits and talks from actors, playwrights, curators and live art performers (including Anthony Sher, Ian McDiarmid, Tim Crouch, Annie Lloyd, Oreet Ashery and Sir David Hare) and workshops with leading companies such as Lone Twin, Vincent Dance Theatre and The Wrestling School."
Notes for Editors: To find out more about The Rover, visit: The Rover
Wednesday 28th – Saturday 31st March 2012
Wednesday – Friday at 7.30pm
Saturday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
£8 or £5 concessions
How to Book
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Book online – at Box Office
Book in person at – Sheffield Students' Union Box Office, Western
Back, Sheffield S10 2TG
For more information about theatre courses at the University of Sheffield visit:
With nearly 25,000 students from 125 countries, the University of Sheffield is one of the UK's leading and largest universities. A member of the Russell Group, it has a reputation for world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.
The University of Sheffield has been named University of the Year in the Times Higher Education Awards for its exceptional performance in research, teaching, access and business performance. In addition, the University has won four Queen's Anniversary Prizes (1998, 2000, 2002, 2007). These prestigious awards recognise outstanding contributions by universities and colleges to the United Kingdom's intellectual, economic, cultural and social life. Sheffield also boasts five Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and many of its alumni have gone on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence around the world. The University's research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls Royce, Unilever, Boots, AstraZeneca, GSK, ICI, Slazenger, and many more household names, as well as UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.
The University has well-established partnerships with a number of universities and major corporations, both in the UK and abroad. Its partnership with Leeds and York Universities in the White Rose Consortium has a combined research power greater than that of either Oxford or Cambridge.
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