Mansfield College was used as a location to film several scenes for the upcoming film On Chesil Beach.
On Monday November 7, it served as the setting for a 1960s activist meeting for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. As well as the cast, many of the students appeared in scenes.
Expected to be released sometime in 2017, On Chesil Beach is a film adaptation of a novel written by Booker Prize-winning author Ian McEwan that follows the honeymoon of a young couple at Chesil Beach in 1962.
The film is being directed by Dominic Cooke, and the leading roles are being played by Saoirse Ronan, who previously starred in Atonement and Brooklyn, as well as the actor Billy Howle. In addition, more than a dozen students from Mansfield were given the opportunity to serve as Supporting Artists in the film.
Alex Oscroft, a Mansfield student who appeared as an extra, told Cherwell, “Besides having to wake up at 5:30am and standing out in the cold for hours between takes, it was a really fun experience that will put Mansfi eld on the map.
“We were given 1950s/60s costumes to wear, and it was interesting how few weird looks I got walking through town. A lot of the filming was quite similar to my average day too, with a lot of walking purposeful past the Radcam and going down the passage to the Turf – it was pretty representative!”
Each of the students in the film were chosen to be supporting artists through an online, e-mail application process and, according to Mansfield College’s Domestic Bursar Lynne Quiggin, each student was “paid a normal, background artists’ rate applicable to their role”.
Student Margaret McGuirk who served as one of the extras in the film, said, “We were acting as a crowd of activist students. We were given costumes so that we looked like students from the 1960s and we meant to create a sense of energy in the scene.”
The students who took part in the filming were also able to watch the professional actors and film crews at work. Margaret said, “it was really cool to see what goes into making a fi lm…and how much detail and work go into a scene that ends up being only about a 3-minute clip!”
Visiting student Charlotte Hayden told Cherwell, “It felt like we were in a period piece. The area around the Lecture Theatre was filled with hardware, props, and people and it was all really exciting…there is an intensity that goes into making something look authentic.”
Kat Collison, also an extra, commented, “The whole thing was a really good laugh and I’m sure I’ll really appreciate the small talk with Billy Howle when he makes his big break. However, I have to say that being filmed walking across a road multiple times, for several hours in the freezing cold made me decide not to continue the pursuit of an acting career.”
Dominic Cooke has previously worked in theatre and television. He most recently directed the second series of the BBC Shakespeare adaptation The Hollow Crown.