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Drama, applied theatre and performance students tread the boards

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Several graduates score successes on stage and screen

The University of East London boasts a wealth of talent among its drama, applied theatre and performance students, with several recent graduates scoring successes on the stage and screen.

Students gave their course a perfect score for overall satisfaction in the 2019 National Student Survey, released in July, as well as top marks for teaching and learning opportunities. The NSS survey, overseen by the Office for Students, gathers feedback from final year undergraduate students in the UK about their time in higher education.

The BA (Hons) Drama, Applied Theatre and Performance course is an innovative degree programme that combines a commitment to socially-engaged performance practice with contemporary theatre, as well as the processes of making performance for and with specific audiences.

Liselle Terret the course co-programme leader, said, “We pride ourselves in our partnerships with the theatre industry so that our students gain confidence and experience in the field while still at university. We also continue supporting our students into the professional field on graduation, as for many this is often when they need support, guidance and recommendation.

Professor Simon Robertshaw, head of UEL’s School of Arts and Digital Industries, said, “We are delighted that our BA Drama, Applied Theatre and Performance course has gained 100 per cent satisfaction among our students. Everyone has worked so hard to achieve such great results and all deserve congratulations for their achievements.

“This is always a very popular course and it is a measure of its success that a number of our drama students are also going on to secure roles in the theatre and film to much popular acclaim.”

Among UEL students who have earned placements and jobs on the professional stage are Nicola Jallim and Lewis Miles, who have won roles with interactive theatre company Gideon Reeling, which makes interactive, site-specific theatrical experiences in which ‘audience participation and a sense of inclusive playfulness are paramount.’

The company’s varied activities include theatre, putting on parties, designing games, providing performers, actors, music, designers, directors and producers and creating brand experiences and stunts, designing and building sets, designing and hiring out costumes and providing educational and corporate training experiences.

Nicola won a professional role to perform in June at the London Palladium as an immersive actor and also worked as co-compere for a promotional event run by Gideon Reeling in May.

Lewis Miles clinched his first professional job for Gideon Reeling’s international press launch event for BBC’s ‘Good Omens’ at Ham Yard in London in May.

Lewis played the role of Puriel, an angel sent to earth to help recruit more humans before the impending apocalypse, at an immersive theatre event.

Lewis, from Newham, who graduated in 2019 with first-class honours, said the experience was amazing. 
He said, “It was a fantastic week of devising and creating characters based around the angels and demons in the novel and the information we had from the pilot episode.”

Lewis explained that they staged small scenes and interactions throughout the evening to create a sense of excitement at the impending ‘Armageddon.’
“It was a thrilling and exciting experience and I am forever thankful that Gideon Reeling has offered me this opportunity and for all the help I have had during my time at UEL.”

Looking ahead to the future, Lewis plans to set up his own theatre company and is currently in the process of developing a new abstract performance, inspired by the final piece he and fellow student Ryan Wright created at UEL, called ‘Theatre of the Depressed’. This September, Lewis begins studying for a master’s degree in theatre and performance studies at Sheffield University.

Other UEL students who have secured placements include Sarah Filgate and Gabriel Ballestero, who were immersive actors for Gideon Reeling’s ‘Land Of The Dead’ at 93 Feet East. MA student Sebastian Huw Walker also worked with Gideon Reeling as a theatrical consultant during his course.