Reflecting on 2016-2017 One: Advanced Practical Projects in Theatre

This post is the first in a series dedicated to reflecting on our departmental work in 2016-2017. Each year Minghella Studios is a hive of activity where plays and films are being shot, made, rehearsed, edited, performed, and then shown to live audiences. Our students work hard not only to prepare this work, but, also, to curate it into annual festivals. At Minghella Studios, we host several festivals each year. The first festival tends to be dedicated to our third year projects in film and theatre. Later in this series of blog-posts, we’ll look back on the film contributions and the festivals of work made by students in other year groups.  This post, though, celebrates the Advanced Practical Project in Theatre 2016-2017. Over the course of the academic year, in addition to all their other modules, students programme, devise, cast, rehearse, tech and perform a full length piece of theatre in front of a public audience. And, yes, it’s as much work as it sounds!

This year, there were eight plays in the series of Advanced Practical Projects in Theatre: Tegan Hopgood’s Red, Anna Tracey’s The Playing Field, 77% by Lashanna Brown, The Clearing by Laura Nash, This is Living by Pippy Rogers, The Island by Jay Oriss, Pig Feed by Jacob Hudson and Emma Whitesmith’s Mainstream.

What’s always exciting about these festivals is seeing the wealth of diverse work that emerges from the students. Each student has a strong autonomy over the process of making their piece. This means that they define the theatrical models in which their plays are made and rehearsed. Below are some photos showing some of these pieces in development. There’s no space here to go into detail about the rich individual processes of making these plays, but, if you’ve been on our courses, or work in the building, you will know! If you don’t, please come and see for yourselves at future festivals.

But, it’s worth noting, as we move toward another academic year, how important each individual piece of student work is to Minghella Studios. Every piece of creative work that’s developed in the building leaves its marks – on the spaces in which the work is shot or performed, in the objects and props that are used, on the people who have supervised, supported, or contributed to the development and production. Each piece informs and changes the next. Each piece leaves its mark and makes us excited for the future development of new pieces – as well as nostalgic for the work we’ve completed.