medazzaland22
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Hi!!

So I’ve recently firmed Durham (for 2020 entry) and am super excited to go there (provided things go to plan after what’s going on at the moment...) if I meet my entry requirements. However, there’s just one thing I’d like to know about that I can’t find much info on anywhere else: what is the student theatre scene like at Durham?

I’m going to study English but I’m also extremely passionate about theatre - musical theatre in particular - and was just wondering how vibrant the student theatre community is. I know there’s a lot of information on the uni’s website, but I tend to take information issued by universities themselves with a pinch of salt as I assume they’ll always make everything appear at least marginally better than it actually is (lol).

Current Durham Student Theatre members, I apologise for the bombardment of questions, but:

Once you’ve joined DST, how often do acting opportunities come along?
Around how many productions are musicals?
How hard is it to get roles/how competitive is it?
How much experience are you expected to have (I don’t have a whole lot)?
And just generally, what is the atmosphere of the theatre scene like there?

Thank you in advance to anyone who can help!!
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Lemur14
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Hiya medazzaland22 :wavey:
Firstly if you haven't found it already, there's a DST website here: https://www.durhamstudenttheatre.org/ where there's quite a lot of information (if you explore it, it's not the easiest website to find information on ngl)
In terms of acting opportunities, it really depends what you're looking for. If you're looking for literally anything, you'd be able to audition for things most likely several times a week (especially at the start of term when there may well be 10/15 a week!) If you're looking for musical theatre, I'd say there's probably about 3-5ish a term, more in the second term (and possibly the last term, but I'm a first year so I'm not totally sure about that)

Musicals really vary, there's some dedicated musical theatre groups such as DULOG and Tone Deaf Theatre who will do at least one a term (I think both those tend to do 4 a year), plus loads of groups will do 1-2 a year either in the second or third term usually.

In terms of acting roles, I think musicals can often be quite competitive because they tend to attract the better actors, and are generally more ambitious. You shouldn't let that put you off though, if you don't audition you definitely won't get it after all And often groups don't announce how big an ensemble they want, so if they want a large one then it would obviously be less competitive! In terms of other roles, they're probably slightly more competitive than non-musicals but still not great competition, I'm a techie and I don't usually find there's much (if any) competition for the roles I'm interested in

There's absolutely no experience expected For acting roles they wouldn't even usually ask if you have any, it's all done on the audition. For other roles, they'd probably suggest you were an assistant before taking the full role, but once you've done that a couple of times, then you probably have enough experience to do the full role and it's more about if someone else happens to apply with more experience than you! The show I did last the tech director had never done anything in theatre before (great at tech, but nothing in theatre), so it's basically all about who applies there.

I think the atmosphere really depends on the theatre group you're working with. I haven't done that many shows, but I've done one where the director had very little control but knew what she wanted done so the cast were often in until 2am rehearsing, but equally I did one just before we shut which was a complete team effort, everything organised and everyone out the theatre just after 11. The latter was a much better experience for me (particularly as I'm a maths student so on a lot of contact hours and usually have to be up early the next morning, less likely to be a problem for you). Essentially a lot of it is down to the director, whether they stress if everything isn't perfect/if people aren't able to make all of every rehearsal/if everything is organised so enough run throughs can take place. I imagine most are like the latter experience, because most won't be directing their first show and will have learnt that's the better way to be, but don't let one bad experience put you off!

Let me know if you have any more questions I don't have loads of experience with DST but happy to answer as best as I can :yep:
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medazzaland22
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(Original post by Lemur14)
Hiya medazzaland22 :wavey:
Firstly if you haven't found it already, there's a DST website here: https://www.durhamstudenttheatre.org/ where there's quite a lot of information (if you explore it, it's not the easiest website to find information on ngl)
In terms of acting opportunities, it really depends what you're looking for. If you're looking for literally anything, you'd be able to audition for things most likely several times a week (especially at the start of term when there may well be 10/15 a week!) If you're looking for musical theatre, I'd say there's probably about 3-5ish a term, more in the second term (and possibly the last term, but I'm a first year so I'm not totally sure about that)

Musicals really vary, there's some dedicated musical theatre groups such as DULOG and Tone Deaf Theatre who will do at least one a term (I think both those tend to do 4 a year), plus loads of groups will do 1-2 a year either in the second or third term usually.

In terms of acting roles, I think musicals can often be quite competitive because they tend to attract the better actors, and are generally more ambitious. You shouldn't let that put you off though, if you don't audition you definitely won't get it after all And often groups don't announce how big an ensemble they want, so if they want a large one then it would obviously be less competitive! In terms of other roles, they're probably slightly more competitive than non-musicals but still not great competition, I'm a techie and I don't usually find there's much (if any) competition for the roles I'm interested in

There's absolutely no experience expected For acting roles they wouldn't even usually ask if you have any, it's all done on the audition. For other roles, they'd probably suggest you were an assistant before taking the full role, but once you've done that a couple of times, then you probably have enough experience to do the full role and it's more about if someone else happens to apply with more experience than you! The show I did last the tech director had never done anything in theatre before (great at tech, but nothing in theatre), so it's basically all about who applies there.

I think the atmosphere really depends on the theatre group you're working with. I haven't done that many shows, but I've done one where the director had very little control but knew what she wanted done so the cast were often in until 2am rehearsing, but equally I did one just before we shut which was a complete team effort, everything organised and everyone out the theatre just after 11. The latter was a much better experience for me (particularly as I'm a maths student so on a lot of contact hours and usually have to be up early the next morning, less likely to be a problem for you). Essentially a lot of it is down to the director, whether they stress if everything isn't perfect/if people aren't able to make all of every rehearsal/if everything is organised so enough run throughs can take place. I imagine most are like the latter experience, because most won't be directing their first show and will have learnt that's the better way to be, but don't let one bad experience put you off!

Let me know if you have any more questions I don't have loads of experience with DST but happy to answer as best as I can :yep:
oh my gosh thank you so much for answering, and in such detail!! this is super helpful!!
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Lemur14
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(Original post by medazzaland22)
oh my gosh thank you so much for answering, and in such detail!! this is super helpful!!
You're welcome! Glad it was helpful
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