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Masterclass Days at St Mary's University

The St Mary’s Schools and Colleges team, in collaboration with academic departments, are delighted to offer a wide range of Masterclass Days to learners considering applying, or have applied, to university.

Each offered event includes workshops specific to that subject area, giving learners a chance to experience seminars, lectures, and sessions at university level. Our Masterclasses are great if students are looking to include extra academic evidence on their personal statement application or are keen to prepare themselves for university discussion this coming September. Delivered by St Mary’s expert academic staff and supported by our current students, learners will have the opportunity to ask all the questions they need prior to attending or applying to university.

These day events usually run between 10am-2.30pm, but we are more than happy to be flexible. They are suitable for post-16 learners and can be hosted at St Mary’s University all year round.

If you’d like to book a cohort or class to attend one of the below opportunities, please do reach out to us at

From H G Wells to Aldous Huxley, George Orwell and beyond, writers have imagined dystopias in order to express anxieties, to satirise, and to critique aspects of contemporary society. This day-long session is designed to introduce students to University-level study in the humanities and encourage students studying dystopian fiction at A Level to develop extended understandings of key texts, their historical and cultural backgrounds, and their relationship to other media forms during the period. Interactive sessions will guide students through the following topics:

  • dystopian fiction and its cultural and historical contexts (from Fritz Lang to Aldous Huxley)
  • dystopian fiction and its literary contexts (Huxley, Orwell, and beyond)
  • writing dystopian fiction (creative writing workshop).

The 1960s was a decade of great change in Britain, across society, politics, and culture. Students on this workshop will explore the different approaches and sources that University-level study of the period involves, as well as considering some of the principle historical debates that have shaped how we think about the decade. Through a series of interactive sessions delivered by members of faculty, students will explore the following topics:  

  • Britain in the 1960s: continuity, change, and historical interpretation  
  • the making of multi-racial Britain: restrictionism and race relations  
  • the ‘Swinging Sixties’: popular culture and historical change.

The best known and most studied dynasty in the History of the British Monarchy – for good reason! The Tudor period saw religious dispute, courtly intrigue, and political transformation, offering both profound constitutional legacies and a window into a world that remains fundamentally different from the present day. This day-long workshop will introduce students to University-level study of the Tudor regime and its historical context, covering the principle historical debates, making use of relevant sources, and considering its impact in literature and culture. Sessions will include:  

  • Tudor Britain: rulers, resistance, and crises in governance 
  • sources and approaches in the study of Tudor Britain
  • Tudor rule, literature, and propaganda.

Come and discover Shakespeare with fresh eyes. Explore the historical and cultural context of his plays, and discover new themes and aspects of his writing, from food to love and emotions. Bring Shakespeare to life through performance. This day-long session is guaranteed to give your students new insight into, and enthusiasm form, the work of the bard. Sessions will include:  

  • Shakespeare: his life, times, and context  
  • reading Shakespeare at University (a session in close literary analysis exploring a theme such as food or love in one of his plays)
  • performing Shakespeare (a facilitated session allowing students to consider the connection between performance and meaning in Shakespeare’s’ plays).

Discover Gothic literature and culture in the home of the Gothic. Ranging from Horace Walpole’s classic, Castle of Otranto, to contemporary film and fiction, this study day will explore key themes in Gothic literature and culture. With sufficient notice, tours of Strawberry Hill House can be facilitated, allowing students to understand the connections between Walpole’s writing and the enduringly influential aesthetics of Gothic revivalism. Sessions will include:  

  • Horace Walpole, Castle of Otranto, and the invention of Gothic  
  • tour of Strawberry Hill House (subject to availability)  
  • Gothic legacies and contemporary literature and film.

Film Production is a group project, with many different roles working together to create the final product. Director, producer and cinematographer might be your goal but there are other positions just as vital that you might not have considered or that might be a stepping stone in your desired career. 

The day is broken down into three hour and a half sessions.  

Continuity/Script Supervision 

In this session we will test your observation skills as we look at the role of a script supervisor and the importance of continuity in a Film or TV episode.  

Location scouting 

We will look at the factors you should take into account when selecting a filming location like the area, facilities and external factors. We will take a walk around the Campus and look at the issues and benefits that might come from choosing specific locations.  

Foley sound 

Sound is arguably the most important element of any Film and is often overlooked by new filmmakers. For various reasons that we will look into not all sound can be collected on set, some sounds need to collected or created in postproduction. This session will focus on sound creation for film, specifically how to create sound that you can't pick up on set.

This day will focus on developing strong characters and capturing their conversations. We will start from scratch going from character creation to Filming a short scene.  

Character development 

Nothing pulls you out of a story more than an inconsistent character. You can’t force a character to do something you have established they never would, without cause. This means the characters can affect the narrative of your Film. We will look into the importance of characters and the details you will need to develop to create a realistic character. 

Students will then work together to create a character, filling in information about their backgrounds, goals and challenges. 

Shooting a conversation between two speaking characters

After creating our characters we will script a short conversation to Film. We This session will focus on over the shoulder shots and coverage for dialogue. Learners will team up to film the three main shots of a conversation 

During this day we will look at the changes that might happen from script to screen. We will take a look at the hard work that goes in to pre-production on a film. We will also breakdown shot selection to look at how and why you might chose to shoot a scene.  

Script Breakdown

There are lots of elements you need to take into consideration once you have your script before you start filming. We will break down a short section of a script looking at the work that gets done on a film before it goes into production and how this work will affect the filming process.  

Five shots, Five Seconds Challenge

This session will focus on shot types, selection, and cinematography techniques like the rule of thirds, 20 degrees rule, and framing. The students will work in small groups to shoot five different shots that last five seconds each. 

What are the key skills needed to create lighting designs for live theatre and events? This masterclass day is designed to introduce students to university-level study in the Creative Arts and develop extended understandings of key principles and skills. 

The day will also explore the Stage Manager role; the Stage Manager is often regarded as the person who ties everything together on a successful show or event. Students will explore the different tasks and approaches a Stage Manager undertakes on their way to delivery of a successful production. Through a series of interactive sessions delivered by members of technical department, students will explore the following topics during this masterclass:  

  • Principles of rigging 
  • Basic introduction to colour, meaning and atmosphere 
  • Introduction to programming and moving lights 
  • Marking out a space
  • The prompt book
  • Show control and communication.

Spend the day with our experienced acting tutors learning the basics of theatre creation and screen acting! This event aims to introduce students to the fundamental principle of screen acting. Based on the idea that thought affects behaviour students will explore how this relates to their screen acting.

Students will have the opportunity to complete exercises to help them experience for themselves how their thoughts can help them in their acting and build their confidence working in front of the camera. The exercises will be recorded, and feedback given throughout the session.

Students will also explore the use of games as a tool for development and discovery. Students will spend time with St Mary’s experienced theatre practitioners learning to play without inhibition or fear. They will explore how gameplay is used as the basis for cultural exchange, encouraging creative free expression, and 


Our Computer Science Masterclass Day can include four taster sessions; this masterclass day is perfect for cohorts of students considering studying Computer Science at university level. The day will include the following aspects: 

Artificial Intelligence

This session will introduce basic concepts and current trends in AI and how AI can shape our world. Attendees will also be introduced to some interesting AI tools that they can try.

Cyber Security

This session will introduce attendees to the current trends in Cyber Security and create an awareness of the risks and challenges faced by society. The session will be interactive, and attendees will have an opportunity to take part in a cybersecurity simulation.

Data Science

This session will introduce attendees to the different roles in the data field (e.g., data analyst, data scientist, and data engineer) and then take the attendees through a worked example of how we can gain insights from data.

User Experience

This session will discuss the importance of the user and the user experience when developing technological solutions. Attendees will learn about some of the techniques that can be used to understand and create successful user experiences.