A first dip into DST

By and

A welcome to the biggest student theatre community in the UK! With 39 theatre companies and 100+ shows every single year, Durham University continues to be home of the biggest student theatre society in the UK. This means there are limitless opportunities to get involved, whatever you are passionate in! Writing, acting, directing, producing, or stage managing, there is a place for you in DST. As a fresher myself last year, I know how overwhelming it can get to have so many opportunities and not knowing where to start, so below is a breakdown of some of the roles available and what you can expect! First up is a directing role. Just like theatre anywhere, directors set the vision of the plays and is the creative powerhouse within a production. Their responsibility ranges from overseeing casting, leading rehearsals, and working with the technicians to achieve their creative intentions. There are directing opportunities in every show in DST, but you can always start with Assistant Directing or Shadowing if you are nervous! First Theatre Company is also a DST theatre company that specialises in supporting first-time directors and creatives, and is a great place to start!

Secondly, producers is an example of a behind-the-scene role, and yet no less important. The producer acts as someone who fills in the gap at productions, as well as take care of the administration and publicity aspects of the production. From publicity calendars, designing posters and Instagram posts, to booking rooms and creating programmes, a producer is the brains of a production. There are lots of opportunities to be Assistant Producer, or get involved in the Freshers’ Play! If you are here for the stage, you cannot miss the unlimited acting opportunities in Durham. From student writing plays, contemporary plays, classics, and musicals, there is something for everyone in Durham! Maybe try auditioning for something you have never heard before. Who knows? It might be your new favourite show. A list of Michaelmas shows in the Assembly Rooms Theatre have been summarised and shortlisted for you as well!

DST’s technicians work their magic behind the scene, but we all know nothing would be done without them

If you are passionate in student writing, then perhaps Durham Drama Festival is the place for you. This year, DDF 2024 will happen on 4th of February to 11th of February. DDF is a week-long celebration of student-writing, where we showcase six new student writings and put them on in the course of a week! Script applications close on Week four of Michaelmas, so do check out their social media for more information. DDF is also a great way to get involved if you are brand new to DST, with smaller plays and cast, it’s a wonderful way to meet new people and create a community.

Last but not least, DST is a great place to start your theatre tech journey. There are so many assistant and shadow opportunities, and look out for tech training schedule! You can try your hands on being Production Manager – person in charge of tech and who liaise with the director on how to achieve a creative vision, or learn how to design lighting, set designing, or stage managing. The DST Technical community is one of the most welcoming and inclusive group of people that I have been a part of, and I would always recommend a “giveit-a-go-” mentality in teaching! Finally, don’t be scared of asking for support within DST! Feel free to dip your feet in and enjoy the ride.

As another exciting year of student theatre awaits us, the shows below are just a handful that will be shown during Michaelmas term. From musicals to comedies, as usual, DST offers a plethora of genres, catering to anyone and everyone!

If you are here for the stage, you cannot miss the unlimited acting opportunities

Death on the Mile

When: 7:30pm, Saturday 14th October

Where: Assembly Rooms Theatre

After a very successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe, the sketch comedy troupe The Durham Revue come back to make us laugh in the Assembly Rooms Theatre with their show Death on the Mile. The annual returners show features recently graduated members of the troupe as well as current members. As always, their show promises to make your tummy hurt from laughing!

Feet of Clay

When: 7:30pm, 26th- 28th of October (including matinee on 28th)

Where: Assembly Rooms Theatre

Ooook! Theatre Company bring to life a mystery in the Assembly Rooms Theatre. The play adapted by Stephen Briggs follows ‘The Watch’, as they attempt to solve a series of murders, which leave no clues as to who the culprit is. Everyone is under interrogation, including the vampires, werewolves and other fantasy creatures that inhabit the city.

Murder on the Orient Express

When: 7:30pm, 2nd-4th of November (including a matinee at 2:30pm on the 4th)

Where: Assembly Rooms Theatre

This year’s Freshers’ plays adapted from the renowned Agatha Christie novel, Murder on the Orient Express is another mystery taking place on the Assembly Rooms Stage. The story follows the famous Detective Poirot as he attempts to solve a murder, on a train. Incoming thespians, this is the perfect opportunity to make your debut on the DST scene alongside fellow freshers.

The show runs for one night only so make sure to grab your ticket as soon as you can

Freshers’ Showcase

When: 7:30pm, 5th of November

Where: Assembly Rooms Theatre

The annual Freshers’ Showcase, is curated by the wonderful Tone Death Theatre Company (TDTC). Filled with multiple numbers taken from favourites of the musical theatre world, the Showcase promises to be a night of pure, breath-taking talent from DST’s newest members. Another great opportunity for new arrivals! The show runs for one night only so make sure to grab your ticket as soon as you can.

The Glass Menagerie

When: 7:30pm, 9th-11th November

Where: Assembly Rooms Theatre

Written by Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie, was his first successful play that launched his career. Portraying the relationships between a mother and her two children, the play is set in late 1930s Missouri. Built on memory, the play is opened by Tom as he delves into what it was like living in a tiny apartment alongside his intense mother and sister who suffers from social anxiety. A modern tragedy, The Glass Menagerie will be an emotional watch.

I wish My life Were Like a Musical!

When: 7:30pm, 12th November

Where: Assembly Rooms Theatre

Revealing what it is like both on and off the musical theatre stage. The show shares all types of moments from terrible auditions to on-stage disasters. With a revue structure, the show has completed its third Edinburgh Fringe run as well as being a West-end hit. Make sure to grab a ticket for this one night only performance!

A celebration of college theatre Heaven and Hell, will include all college
theatre companies!

Spring Awakening

When: 7:30pm, 22nd- 25th November (including matinee at 2:30pm on the 25th)

Where: Assembly Rooms Theatre

DULOG present a coming-of-age rock musical, Spring Awakening delves into the lives of Wendla and Melchior. Set in 1890s Germany, the story follows teen pupils who are struggling to understand their growing sexual feelings while living in a community with a strict moral code.

Heaven and Hell

When: 7:30pm, 26th November

Where: Assembly Room Theatre

A celebration of college theatre Heaven and Hell, will include all college theatre companies! A showcase of each company’s selling point, it will be comprised of classicals that are suited to the theme of heaven and hell. FHTC’s project will also donate all proceeds to the Graham Martin Bursary Appeal.

The Rivals

When: 7:30pm, 30th of November- 2nd December

Where: Assembly Rooms Theatre

Presented by DUCT Productions, The Rivals is a comedy of manners. In the pursuit of love, Jack Absolute goes to extreme lengths to catch the eye the Lydia. With other suitors on the scene, Jack assumes a fake identity and tries to captivate relatives of Lydia.

An Evening with Durham Palatinate Orchestra

When: 7:00pm, 2nd of December

Where: Elvet Methodist Church

Featuring musical arrangements from Glazunov and Sibelius, DUPO’s Michaelmas performance will take place in the hall of Elvet Methodist Church and is sure to be an evening of incredible talent.

Into the Woods

When: 7:30pm, 6th-9th of December

Where: Assembly Rooms Theatre

Towards the end of the term, TDTC will present the much-loved Into the Woods. Witches, princesses, bakers and other fairy tale characters share their wishes through musical numbers. Two bakers then venture into the woods in an attempt to break a curse, it’s here the story develops.

Image credit: Team Voyas via Unsplash

One thought on “A first dip into DST

  • What opportunities are available for students interested in theater at Durham University, and how can newcomers get involved in the vibrant theater community?
    Telkom University


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