Durham Student Theatre: a quick guide on how to get involved

Freshers Monstrous Regiment
The cast of Ooook! Productions’ ‘Monstrous Regiment’, which won several awards at the D’Oscars 2015 including Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress.

DST’s President explains all the opportunities available for theatre enthusiasts, and the easiest ways to get started on the theatre scene as a fresher.

If you want to get involved with the wonderful world of theatre during your time at university, I’m delighted to say you’ve come to the right place. Durham Student Theatre (DST) is one of the biggest (and quite possibly the best) student theatres in the country. With over 70 performances a year, and 28 ratified theatre companies, all with their own unique flair and style, you’re sure to find something you’ll love. On top of all this, we have our own theatre, The Assembly Rooms, and productions are regularly performed across the city in both external and university venues.

One of the most exciting opportunities every year for freshers is the freshers’ play, which is performed in Week 7. Directed, produced, tech directed and performed entirely by freshers, it’s the perfect way to ease yourself into the Durham theatre scene. Applications deadlines and audition dates will be released soon.

 

Acting

As soon as term commences, DST is flooded with opportunities to tread the boards. There’s always a manic buzz across Elvet Riverside where most of our auditions are held. You’ll find there are always too many shows to choose from. Whatever your tastes there’ll be something for the die-hard Shakespeare fan, the musical-maniac and the farce-loving fanatic.

And don’t be put off if you haven’t acted much before; whatever your level of experience there will be a play that’s suited for you. College theatre productions provide a great opportunity for those who want to test the waters before they dive into major university-wide productions.

The cast of DULOG's 'Cabaret', which won several awards at the D'Oscars 2015 including Best Musical and Best Actor in a Musical.
The cast of DULOG’s ‘Cabaret’, which won several awards at the D’Oscars 2015 including Best Musical and Best Actor in a Musical.

Directing

Of course, theatre in Durham extends far beyond the footlights, and one of the best ways to explore this backstage world is through the challenging but rewarding task of directing.

There’s nothing better than taking your dream play and turning it into a reality. Who ever thought Gogol could be staged like that? Or that Chekhov could be interesting? (He is, for the record). Take your creative vision and run with it, and make some wonderful friends along the way.

If you’re keen to get involved in directing but are unsure if you’ve got enough experience to have a go on your own, be sure to check out DST’s Assistant Director Scheme. Be sure to email student.theatre@durham.ac.uk for more details.

 

Producing

When it comes to making the magic happen, there can be little doubt that the producer is at the heart of the process. Producing in Durham is a unique experience and one that truly integrates you within the production.

You’re the glue that keeps the show together and the springboard for the creatives to work alongside. It’s an enigmatic role but a rewarding one nonetheless.

As with directing, DST offers an Assistant Producer Scheme which is a great way to get involved.

Claire Forster in 'Congestion'. 'Congestion' is a verbatim piece, and was part of the Durham Drama Festival 2015, and was subsequently chosen to be part of the National Student Drama Festival.
Claire Forster in ‘Congestion’. ‘Congestion’ is a verbatim piece, and was part of the Durham Drama Festival 2015, which was subsequently chosen to be part of the National Student Drama Festival.

Tech

This one involves far more than it sounds. Tech is fundamental to the success of DST and there are always opportunities to get involved. Whether your passion lies in lighting, sound, flying or just rigging, there’s a plethora of tech jobs to try out within DST. It’s a great skill to develop and you’ll find your talents will always be in demand.

What’s more? You don’t need experience. With DST, there’s termly training sessions and additional workshops to hone your skills. Not to mention the Assistant Tech Director Scheme (there’s a theme occurring here).

 

Writing

Ever wanted to write and stage your own play? Well, now you can. DST has its own drama festival, Durham Drama Festival, every year in February. Write and submit a play, and it could be performed in front of industry professionals. If you’ve got a talent for writing, we want to read it. Or if simply reviewing plays is more to your tastes, you can do that too.

 

If you’ve missed us at the Experience Durham Fair this Tuesday and Wednesday, be sure to come along to DST’s Spotlight Event on Sunday 11 October at 7pm in The Assembly Rooms Theatre!

Photographs:  for ‘Monstrous Regiment’, for ‘Cabaret’ and Florence Chater for ‘Congestion’

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.