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St Mary's University

St Mary's Drama Head Champions Practical Skills and Building Contacts as Vital Components of University Education

The St Mary’s University, Twickenham campus has been host to an extensive programme to nurture drama talent.

The St Mary’s University, Twickenham campus has been host to an extensive programme to nurture drama talent in the last month, as Project 10 has begun to introduce third year students to ten contacts that could support them beyond graduation.

2016 marks the inaugural year for the project, which looks specifically at preparing St Mary’s students for successful careers in the theatre industry.

Patsy Gilbert, St Mary’s Academic Director for Drama commented, “We have a responsibility to ensure that our students understand the competitive industry they are training towards, but feel practically equipped to thrive in life post-graduation.

“The Drama programmes here at St Mary's lean heavily into the vocational training model students would normally find in Drama Schools and Conservatoires.”

Patsy added, “In creating Project 10 I wanted to build on the fantastic reputation for bringing in industry professionals who have specific links to their chosen careers.

“It is vital our students are prepared for what in an incredibly competitive industry. Students need to develop their personal career plans – they do this through Project 10 by meeting people from Equity (actors union) and Spotlight (industry casting tool) as well as attend a range of sign up sessions tailored to make sure students leave with a relevant and impactful portfolio of materials.”

To date, students have had an introduction to Historical Dancing with Huw Prall, who has worked at the Globe theatre in addition to a number of period feature films; taken part in a session on Motion Capture with Gareth Taylor of MoCap Vaults; and just this week have taken part in a full day of workshops centered around Stage Combat with Alison De Burgh, professional fight sequence choreographer and practitioner.

Students take part in Stage Combat workshop - Project 10 - St Mary's University, Twickenham[/caption] Work within the programme will culminate in students producing Showcases in Central London venues for public and invited industry audiences.

The University, which offers a variety of undergraduate programmes, including BA Acting and BA Technical Theatre, also offers a flagship MA Theatre Directing in collaboration with Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond, unique to any institution in the UK.

St Mary’s underpins its academic courses with a particular focus on technical skill, all driven by a strong, and growing, team of experts in all aspects of theatre. Alongside Patsy, Project 10 is run by Julie Spencer, Senior Lecturer in Acting who specialises in Actor training and Acting methodologies; and Dan Ford whose specialism is in performing and creating theatre outside of traditional performance spaces.

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