Placement Module for Theatre Students
I wanted to do a blog about some one of the second year Theatre and Performance modules available that I have completed this year. (Links to all second year modules are here: https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/theatre_s/current/ug/intro/year_two/)
So, over the Easter break I had the special opportunity of undertaking a creative placement with a theatre company (link to the module info here https://warwick.ac.uk/services/aro/dar/quality/modules/undergraduate/th/th339). I worked with Collide Theatre, a company based in Camden that aims to ‘speak through bold texts and to produce work which challenges, inspires and excites both us and our audience.‘
I was put into contact with the company via my module convenor and I arranged to meet with the artistic director of the company to discuss the possibility of them facilitating a creative placement. Fortunately my prospective dates of availability coincided with the company’s rehearsal dates for the show. I had the exciting role of assistant dramaturg on their show Metamorphosis and it was agreed that I could be present in all the rehearsals, which spanned three weeks. I also would be able to get involved with the creative team by spending time with composers, choreographers, and designers.
The module offered such a unique opportunity of seeing the inner workings of a professional theatre company. I observed the adaptation of the classic Kafka story, and watched how professional creatives crafted a performance from page to stage. Not only this but this adaptation of the story was going to be a dance theatre piece, admittedly I have no experience in dance, so the rehearsal space was a really enriching place for me. I had the chance to ask choreographers about their training and practice. Similarly I could ask these questions to composers who talked about how they composed unique pieces for the show. The environment was extremely welcoming so felt comfortable openly asking questions about their methodologies.
Another huge benefit of taking this module is that I now have been part of a professional theatre project that I can reference on my CV and in auditions and interviews. In addition to this I got to meet and get to know working actors in London. It was really useful to have more informal chats with them about their experiences working as an actor, how they got to where they are now, and what advice they would give to aspiring performers. I think that without the backing of the university I doubt I would have had access to this kind of an opportunity so, that being said, I am really grateful for the chance to work outside of the university in a way that is relevant to my career prospects.
In terms of assessment, in response to the 100 hours worked on site, students must write a 5000-word report which critically engages with the individuals placement aims. For instance my report is centred on observing and analysing
• How a director/ dramaturg manages a professionally working theatre company
• How effective the creative team were in achieving a piece that performatively reframed Franz Kafka’s novella with the focus of familial politics and being made to feel different
• Effectively expressed the themes of alienation and unacceptance
• How the piece used storytelling, movement, live music and other performance strategies to capture and animate the story
At first the report definitely appears as a mammoth task, however researching how differing directors and dramaturgs work and comparing it to what I experienced on placement is both interesting and conducive to my learning and experience in hopefully working in this creative field. I also acknowledge that undertaking a placement during holiday time is definitely a factor to consider when choosing this module. I would recommend taking the time to look up when the assessments of your other modules take place, and be really honest with yourself when contemplating how much time will be necessary to completing them. Balancing a placement alongside deadlines can be really difficult so it would be useful to consider choosing other modules that don’t heavily clash with this one, as the ideal format of deadlines and assessments would be an even spread throughout the year.
I hope this have given you a little insight into one of the modules available to second year and third year theatre students.
All the best,
P.s. review of the show here (https://thepanoptic.co.uk/2019/04/30/review-metamorphosis-tristan-bates/)