How did you get involved with drama at Oxford?
I came to Oxford knowing that I wanted to go into theatre professionally after I left, so I already knew that I wanted to get involved. I was at Pembroke, so I was lucky enough that there was a college musical every year – I added the director on Facebook had (what was then a very intimidating!) coffee with him, and joined as Assistant Director. I messaged as many people as Facebook would let me find, and then roped in all my friends to help me on the first play I directed: April Di Angelis’ Playhouse Creatures at the BT Studio. It all kind of snowballed from there.
How did you get into your current job?
The week before my finals this May, I was freaking out about the future and the UDO application deadline was looming. One night I got back home from the library after a long day of revision, and just decided to send off an application so I’d feel like I’d achieved something that day! After my finals were done, I was considering my options, and it seemed like a great way to make a difference to the system that had helped me so much. And now here we are.
What’s your happiest memory of drama at Oxford?
That’s a tough one. There was a really special moment on The Last Five Years (which I directed at the Pilch), in rehearsals, and we had one rehearsal in which we finally had a break-through with the central scene. Everything around it fell into place, it was pretty magical!
What’s your favourite play?
My absolute favourite play is Tony Kushner’s Angels In America.
How would you want to stage it if you had to put it on at Oxford?
Actually, I wouldn’t. It’s too huge and would be too expensive. I think someone put on Millennium Approaches a few years ago, and it lost a ridiculous amount of money. If I had another chance to put something on as a student at Oxford, I’d do The Winter’s Tale at the Keble O’Reilly, with something of a Star Wars twist. Perhaps it’s best that I won’t get that chance.
Who’s your inspiration?
So many people! I love Emma Rice, I think her attitude and unflinching optimism are incredible, particularly given how difficult a time she’s had recently. My favourite director is Marianne Elliott, whose shows all push boundaries and make me think about how weird it is to be human. Closer to home, friends who inspire me are Lucy Hayes (current OUDS president), Ellie Keele (ex-University drama officer), and Helena Jackson (ex-OUDS president). They push me to be a better artist and a better person.
Do you have any advice for freshers who might want to get involved in the Oxford drama scene?
Go watch things! And follow the cast and crew to the pub afterwards.