Theatre at Warwick (some thoughts from a first year)
This Wednesday I will be back in a theatre for the first time since November 2019. I am so excited. That excited that I have had to italicise the word ‘so’ to really emphasise just how excited I am! And the venue hosting my return to live theatre will be none other than Warwick Arts Centre, or as those who mix in the appropriate circles often refer to it as, WAC. Even more excitingly, ‘WAC’ has just been refurbished and so it’ll be all shiny and new when I arrive on Wednesday. For months I have walked past the central piazza, the arts centre barred off and isolated in the background. In only two days’ time theatres officially re-open and I can assure you that the very small amount of money I have saved will be irresponsibly blown on as many theatre tickets as I can possibly buy!
One of the biggest factors that swayed my decision to come to Warwick was just how fantastic the opportunities were surrounding theatre, not only within the department but also on an extra-curricular level too. I remember my applicant day and being excited by the foundations of the new Arts building that were being laid opposite the Occulus. I remember walking into the Arts Centre and immediately loving the vibe (for the Midlands folk amongst my readership, it reminded me of the Birmingham Rep, which has always been a favourite venue of mine). I remember reading the posters advertising an upcoming production of ‘How To Disappear Completely And Never Be Found’ that was on at WAC that coming week. By this point, I had visited multiple other University campuses (campi?) and had felt slightly underwhelmed by what always seemed to be neglected and/or underfunded theatre departments. Warwick stood out as a place that took the arts seriously and reflected this by investing in them.
Of course, when I started my degree, Covid-19 had reared its ugly head and pretty much obliterated the arts industry as I knew it. Not being able to engage fully with something I enjoyed so much was difficult, especially when my passion for theatre extended beyond my academic study and consumed a large chunk of my leisure time too. Covid has limited and restricted countless opportunities that I had eagerly looked forward to, opportunities that I knew Warwick could offer me after seeing everything that was available when I was interviewed. The chance to be sat in an ACTUAL, PHYSICAL venue and watch real people perform marks what I hope to be an irreversible shift back towards normality, and with it the University experience I so desperately anticipated when I first came to Warwick on my applicant day. As restrictions start to lift, I cannot wait to take full advantage of the ‘theatrical scene’ here at Warwick and start to align my University experience far more closely with what I expected.
Until next time,