What is UEA like?
UEA (University of East Anglia) is in Norwich, a city in Norfolk, east of England. It is a very tight-knit community, I guess it’s due to the fact that we’re in Norfolk (which no one ever knows where) and that Norwich is the only city in Norfolk to have voted remain.
Studying at UEA
There are loads of societies in UEA, I’m not sure how many exactly, but they’re all student-led and run. There are societies based on nationalities, there are some based on interests such as drama society (which I am in) and there are also a lot of sports societies. From my experiences of societies at UEA, they are all very welcoming and you will be able to meet lots of new people from different places in the world. I for one have met some very good friends, and my friend group mainly consists of people from my course and drama society. So I do encourage people to join societies based on their own interests, so that they can meet new people and instantly have something in common before even speaking to each other.
Other than societies, UEA also offers a lot of student staff roles, ranging from cashier work to venue staff to being part of the SU teams. I’m currently working in the marketing team at the SU, and it’s been a fun experience so far, the work environment is very chill and the SU are always very concerned about the wellbeing of all the student staff members.
The night life in Norwich is rather safe. We have one club venue on campus and two bars (which are connected so technically we have one), there are regular gigs both in the club and in the blue bar, where Live Music society would occasionally host open mic nights. The Never Ok campaign is very prevalent on campus, and all the venue staff are trained to deal with issues that arise regarding all types of assault, so you can ensure your night out would be extremely safe. Outside of campus, we also have an entire street of clubs including Waterfront (which is also managed by the UEA SU) which plays alternative music. But if you don’t want to go so far for a good night out, the campus club is not the best, but it’s still has a special place in every UEA student’s heart, while we dance along to Mr. Brightside for the 100th time.
What is Drama? Is it a subject for me?
If you’re only interested in acting, then I suggest going to a drama school instead. However, if you want a balanced course that teaches the theories behind drama, scriptwriting, backstage along with plenty of opportunities to have your own work put on, then this just might be the course for you. The thing I love the most about UEA’s drama course is that no matter if you an English and Drama degree, or straight Drama degree, or Scriptwriting and Performance degree, you’re automatically apart of the community that is ‘Minotaur Theatre Company’, which is the student-led and student-run theatre company on campus. In this company, you have opportunities to submit your script for festivals or ‘slots’ throughout the year, you would also be able to put on pieces of work that has already been written by someone else. You would also be able to audition and act in plays, and of course you can also direct, or stage manage, or costume design etc for shows. First years are also allowed to run for committee and lead the company into their second years before handing it back to the new first years. In my first year, I ran for publicity artist and got it, and it was a very interesting experience because you would be part of the group that makes sure everything runs smoothly within the company.
There are two main performance spaces in the Drama Studio, one is the ‘main space’ which is a medium sized auditorium with balcony doors and adjustable seating arrangements, there is also a tech box with all the necessary lighting and sound equipment. The second space is the ‘rehearsal room’, where they are also lighting and sound systems, albeit more simplistic than the main space, but it is enough to put on a show that requires an intimate space with the audience.
In first year, you’ll be one of the first people to arrive at uni, and the first weekend you get back, you’ll be able to work with your new coruscates and create pieces of theatre inspired by Greek myths. (One of them being the Minotaur, hence the name of our theatre company) This would be a great opportunity for you to meet new people who might become your best friends throughout uni life. You’ll also have a module where you have the opportunity to learn certain technical areas from the options of stage management, set design, lighting, sound and costume design. You can also choose to do meisner which is a very useful acting technique developed by (who would’ve guessed) sanford meisner, which aims to get the actor out of their comfort zone.
In second year, I took a placement module, where I got to work in a professional environment, in one of Norwich’s theatre venues. It gave me an insight on how theatres work, which will be very useful for your future. We also had a module called Outreach, where we were assigned a ‘client’ – in my group’s case, our client was a museum – and we had to create a performance piece or lead a workshop at the museum with children, teaching them about the workhouses in the Victorian era. This is also a very useful module for your future, as doing these kinds of performance work, is a possible career prospect.
In third and final year, you’ll come together as an entire course, and everyone will take part in creating a festival of 2-3 big productions. You’ll have one acting role and one backstage role, where you can have a first-hand experience in working as a professional theatre company. At the end of the last semester, you will also have a chance to write, direct and act your own 15 minute ‘project’.