Arts after university

↑ Above: Jack Wilkin

Graduating from University can be as scary as starting. Gone are the support mechanisms and you find yourselves up against your peers looking for a break. You may have a drama degree but don’t yet have the experience or track record. Arts organisation Metal are working with Eastern Angles Theatre Company and University Centre Peterborough to trial a residency programme for recent performing arts graduates. Here we hear from two of their residency artists


Tell us a bit about yourself
In July last year I graduated from De Montfort University in Leicester with a Drama and Creative Writing degree, which sparked my passion for performance. When thinking about making newwork or writing stories, I ask myself “What would 16-year-old me want to see?” which has led to the creation of solo shows exploring LGBTQ+ issues, campness and comedy.

What ideas are you developing in Peterborough?
It’s been 40 years since the Disco Demolition, a public demonstration turned riot against a genre that helped bring about the 12inch record, the rise of the DJ and completely rewrote the politics of the dance floor. This rebellious and hidden history, combined with my love of Disco, has inspired me to develop a show full of dance, protest and Saturday Night Fever. In Peterborough I’ll be looking at the leader of the Disco Sucks movement, Steve Dahl, as well as dusting off my dancing shoes.

What do you hope to achieve with your residency?
I’m hoping to achieve a sense of development as a performer by delving into artforms that aren’t familiar to me, such as dance and choreography. I hope also to engage with local artists in Peterborough and across the county.

Why are these opportunities important to you and other graduates?
These opportunities are so important as a lot of us returning home lose our connections that we built during our time at university. Not only does it give us a space to make work, but it allows us to connect with other graduates and artists who are in a similar position and helps remind us that we’re not alone.


Tell us a bit about yourself
I studied Theatre at the University of Chichester and graduated this year. During my final year, I found myself drawn to queer theatre, taking the opportunity to explore my identity as a theatre maker. It was the perfect opportunity to experiment with different roles in performance, such as directing, writing and performing. I like to make work which challenges and captivates the audience, often exploring complex and hard-hitting subjects. My directing project in my final year explored the AIDS crisis in the 1980s and my solo show explored the destructive nature of online dating apps.

What ideas are you developing in Peterborough?
I am working on an idea I’ve had for a while now – currently titled Guy Mart. The themes follow on frommy solo performance at university, looking at the impact of online dating apps. It is currently in the early stages and will adopt a fast-paced, energetic style inspired by Dale’s Supermarket Sweep. I hope that this setting makes it accessible to all audiences, regardless of their sexuality.

What do you hope to achieve with your residency?
I see this residency as an exciting first postuniversity experience which combines skills in directing, writing, project management and delivery. As part of my residency, I aim to work with a few actors towards a small performance of various moments from Guy Mart, with the hope to receive valuable feedback which can help to improve and further develop it as a concept. I see this as an opportunity to form professional working relationships with other artists in the city, as well as getting actively involved with the work of the queer community

Why are these opportunities important?
Leaving university is both exciting and terrifying, and for me, leaving such a close-knit theatre community at Chichester has been difficult. However, having this opportunity with both Metal and Eastern Angles has assured me that Peterborough is home to an arts community which supports and nurtures recent graduates who are trying to find their own way. Being an artist is not an easy path, so I am very grateful for this opportunity.

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