Opportunities in Theatre & Performance Studies
As I mentioned in a previous post, the Theatre & Performance Studies department at Warwick is an incredibly active community of students and staff. Part of this is due to the many opportunities the students can get involved in, allowing us to meet both other students and the staff. As well as this, there are also opportunities to get involved in the new School of Creative Arts, Performance and Visual Cultures (SCAPVC) which Theatre Studies is part of. Therefore, I thought I would share some of the things myself and the other students I know have been able to get involved in, giving a sense of the many things Theatre students can do within the department.
Perhaps the most obvious opportunity I have gotten involved in (by the fact you’re reading this) is blogging! The department always has a few student bloggers from across the different years writing about our experiences on the course and at the University. We are generally free to pick our own topics, allowing us to write about what we feel is important to us at the time, although the department and University also suggest topics that might be relevant to students interested in coming to Warwick. While these are generally aimed at applicants, the freedom of choice means we can also write about subjects relevant to current students, like a post I wrote over the summer about bringing more diversity into student theatre.
Blogging is a great way for anyone interested in writing to express their interests and write in a style different to the usual essays and assignments. Opportunities to join the blogging team come out as needed, with the department letting students know when an opening is available.
The department runs applicant days throughout the year for prospective students to get a taste of the department and see how they might fit in. Current students play a huge role in these, meeting the prospective students, having a chat, and going through the day with them. I took part in several of these in my second year, although I sadly have been busy during the sessions this year so haven’t been able to attend. As well as being a great way to meet prospective new students and give a sense of what life at Warwick is like, this also allows current students across the years to meet each other and catch up, fostering the department’s sense of community. When the days were in person, we also got a free lunch, which I very much miss!
Taking part in these applicant days is great for anyone who loves to socialise and meet new people. The department usually issues call-outs for these at the beginning of the year, with those taking part able to sign up for as many or few as desired.
Student-Staff Liaison Committee (SSLC)
The SSLC is a space where student representatives and staff can come together to discuss how students are feeling and what could be changed to help things run smoother. I first became an SSLC rep in my second year, and this year was appointed as the SSLC chair. As SSLC meetings are chaired by a final-year student, they can feel less intimidating than contacting staff directly, plus the department often holds more informal meetings for the students and staff to get to know each other early in the term. As well as being another great way to meet other students, this also lets students meet the staff outside of lectures and seminars, again making the department feel much more like a community. The Theatre staff in particular are good at listening to the concerns raised at SSLC, with both immediate results (like assessment deadlines changing) and long-term ones (like modules being tweaked) coming from the meetings. SCAPVC also holds an all-school SSLC once a term, where students from across departments can talk about their concerns and discuss what different departments have been doing to find a solution.
Being on SSLC is a great opportunity for anyone who likes to give their opinion and can see what solutions could be found. It is also a great thing to put on your CV when you graduate! Call-outs for SSLC reps are released during first term, with a few reps chosen for each year.
Second and Third year students are able to take on mentoring roles in the department, meaning that all first years have a student mentor they can contact. Mentors and mentees generally first meet in Welcome Week, with each mentor assigned a group of about 5 students. Beyond this first meeting, it is up to each group to decide what works best, as they can meet in groups or individuals. Mentors are also given training to make sure everyone knows what they are doing. This gives each first-year student a point of contact they can message with any questions, such as housing or module choices.
Mentoring is great for anyone social who enjoys looking after others and is confident in giving advice. The department generally seeks out mentors over third term/summer, ready for term 1.
The Theatre department has an Instagram account (@theatrewarwick) which is run by current students with help from the staff. This account had a new boost at the beginning of my second year, when one of the then-first year students took over running it. The account is useful for current students to keep up with everything going on in the department, as well as allowing those running it to gain experience in social media. The Instagram features a variety of different content, including work by current students, news about the staff and their activities, and general updates on the department and campus. SCAPVC also has also recently started an Instagram (@scapvc) run by students, which is a great way to see not only what the School is up to, but also the different courses.
Helping to run the Instagram is a great opportunity for anyone who loves social media or enjoys creating content. These opportunities open up when needed, and the department lets the students know when these are available.
Hopefully this has given you a sense of the many opportunities available in both the department and the school! No matter what your skills or interests, there is something for everyone to get involved in, and new opportunities open up all the time!