When Kelly S., a UCLA student, arrived in London for her UCEAP year abroad at Queen Mary University of London, she was already an avid theatre lover. Her study abroad experience gave her the opportunity to expand her knowledge by working on both lighting and audio for student and professional productions in London. Here is her story in her own words:
I got involved with a student group called QMTC (Queen Mary Theatre Company) in November when I signed up to be the lighting technician for a production of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale. I helped to program different cues or “looks” into the lighting console and operated it during the dress rehearsal and performances. Then, in January, I got the opportunity to work with some of the same people on a production at the Courtyard Theatre, a professional venue in Hackney. The play was Thérèse Raquin, which our director, Sarah Chapleo (a third year QMUL student), had adapted from an Émile Zola novel of the same name. I was in charge of the audio cues for this show.
Working on these productions has been a great experience. Thérèse Raquin introduced me to a new area of London and to people outside of the university-bubble, as well as giving me a behind-the-scenes look at an industry that plays such a distinctive role in London culture. Also, getting involved with QMTC is an experience I can’t recommend enough. They hold several festivals every year, which offer the chance for students to put on plays they have written as well as classics. Festivals are especially good for people interested in the technical side of theatre because they’re happy to teach you new skills and you can do more productions than a performer (I was able to do a combination of lights, sound, and projection for five different plays in the last festival). Most of all it’s a very inspiring environment. It’s a great way to meet full-time QMUL students as well as study abroad students from other states and countries, all of whom are very welcoming, creative, and talented.
– Kelly S.
Whether you want to practice a familiar hobby in a new environment or start a brand new challenge, there’s something for everyone to get involved in when they study abroad in the UK! If you are a current or former UCEAP student in the UK or Ireland and are involved in a new or interesting activity on your campus, please feel free to let us know – we would love to share your story!