Departing DST veterans reflect on their favourite shows, their proudest moments in Durham theatre, and their plans for the future.
Having performed in about 15 DST productions over my time here, drama has made up much of my university experience. There are lots to choose from but my favourite show was probably The Comedy of Errors which I did with CTC last summer. I have such good memories of touring around country houses across southern England with mates in the sunshine. My proudest moment on a Durham stage is probably between Bent and Hidden. It was amazing to do such an important, albeit grim, play with Bent last summer, and Hidden was great last term, if only because we managed to keep the cast secret up until opening night. It seems very odd that it’s all coming to an end. Next year, I’m taking a year out to try and get as much acting experience as I can before applying to drama school. Harvey Comerford.
Favourite show is a tough one because there have been so many brilliant experiences. I have been really lucky! As a mere fresher, I adored doing Thrust Stage’s all-female production of Henry V. It was my first Assembly Rooms show and I remember standing in the wings and never wanting to leave that place. More recently, I loved playing a messed-up teenager in Polly Stenham’s That Face. Proudest moment was probably getting cast in the 2014 DULOG fringe show, as it showed me I was capable of university-level musicals (despite my intense fear of dancing). I absolutely intend to continue performing after university – at the moment I am applying to drama schools. Wherever I end up, I’ll always be incredibly grateful to DST for everything it has given me. Lydia Feerick.
Over the past three years, Durham Student Theatre has given me the chance to direct some of my favourite plays, write some of my own, meet some freakishly talented people and, pretentious as it may sound, discover a new calling I couldn’t have dreamed of before university. As a result, I’m certainly hoping to pursue a writing and directing career after graduating. Some of my fondest memories in DST come from The Lieutenant of Inishmore, where the weeks before my second year exams were filled with bad Irish accents, cat-searching expeditions and buckets of fake blood. However, my proudest moment would have to be the closing performance of That Face. The pin drop silence at that show’s finale was the culmination of not only months of horrendous stress but the support and dedication of an absurdly hard-working cast and crew. It’s memories like these that have really made my time in DST worthwhile. Nikhil Vyas.
DST has been such an integral part to my Durham career and my own personal development! From shows in Chads to shows at the Fringe, the variety which I’ve been able to engage in has been truly fantastic. My favourite show has to still be Jerusalem just because, even as an actor, I felt totally transformed to another world through the fantastic work of the producers, set-designers and pretty much everything to do with the show! Joe Skelton’s DDF play The Noctambulist was one of my favourite plays to perform in as not only did I win Best Actor, but our run at the Fringe has been my most successful to date. Hoping to go into acting, all I can really do is thank DST and all the people involved for creating such a fantastic and creative environment. Theo Harrison.
I have absolutely loved being involved with DST over my 3 years at Durham! I have to say my first ever DST production, Motherland, has a special place in my heart because it was such a great verbatim play about the women left behind by the men and women who went to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan. The cast was a big female cast and the amount of talent was incredible, not to mention Kate Barton and George Rexstrew’s fab direction. It made me love acting even more, which I did not think possible! My proudest moment was being nominated for Best Supporting Actress for my role in Motherland at the D’Oscars and for being nominated for Best Actress for my role in the verbatim play Congestion at the D’Oliviers – I think I cried both times! I intend to pursue a career in acting after I leave Durham in any way I can, drama school or otherwise. I’ve got to follow the dream! Eleanor George.
Picking just one favourite show is so difficult, but two plays that were very special to me were That Face and Orlando. I had the most amazing time rehearsing and performing both and it was amazing to get the opportunity to portray two such complex and incredibly written characters. My proudest moment in DST was performing in DDF 2015 – it was the first time I’d performed in DDF since 2009 and I was absolutely blown away by how much things had changed since I was an undergraduate; how much more innovative and brave the writing, direction and use of space was. DST has changed beyond recognition since I started studying in Durham – we didn’t really have any links to industry professionals and I hadn’t got a clue what NSDF was! I feel very lucky that my current job (I work as a children’s entertainer alongside my PhD) allows me to act and be paid to do it, but I would absolutely love to continue acting in the future. Being involved in DST makes me happier than anything else in the world and I’d feel totally bereft if I couldn’t prance about on stage in some capacity! Carrie Gaunt.
Photographs (in descending order): Isabelle Pallier (‘That Face’, starring Carrie Gaunt and Lydia Feerick and directed by Nikhil Vyas); Anna Lermolaieva; Sea Grey Photography; Isabelle Culkin; Anna Lermolaieva; Isabelle Culkin; Anna Lermolaieva.