Welcome to ‘Getting to Know You.’ This will be a regular feature at Kettle Mag, where we will be interviewing students with degrees in the arts to find out why they chose that subject and what their plans are for the future.
If you missed our last interview, with performing arts graduate Alex Harden, you can catch up here.
But for our third piece in the series, culture editor Gemma Hirst interviews Phoebe Elliot, a theatre studies student from The University of Glasgow.
Name: Phoebe Elliott
Arts subject chosen to study: Theatre Studies
University: The University of Glasgow
How long have you been studying the subject for?
I’ve been studying for almost a year.
Why did you choose to do Theatre Studies?
I wanted to learn more theory about theatre and I also want to apply for some directing apprenticeships that require a 2:1 in a relevant degree.
What are the best parts of studying a subject within the arts?
I think taking a quite theoretical course helps you really appreciate the history of your field. For example, we did a short series of lectures on sexuality and theatre and I got to learn a lot more about the history of queer performance in Britain.
Are there any opportunities to showcase your talents within the university?
The degree itself is quite theoretical but once you reach honours there are a lot more practical courses available including directing and script writing. I’m lucky that Glasgow has a well-known and respected theatre society as well so that is another outlet for me practice-wise.
What are your plans after graduation?
I want to apply for directing apprenticeships and continue with my own practice and theatre company, Bedroom Culture.
If you could have any dream job in the arts, what would it be?
It’s a bit pie-in-the-sky but I would love to be the first female Artistic Director of the National Theatre. I think the National does some really great work but it feels intensely London-centric. I want the National Theatre to be national. I want to them tour and do NT Live broadcasts. I want them to collaborate with more regional theatres. I want them to support regional theatres and artists to create work.
Who is your inspiration in the field?
I would say my inspirations in the field are Bryony Kimmings (theatre-maker) and Erica Whyman (Deputy Artistic Director of the RSC).
Do you have any advice for future students wishing to study an arts subject?
If you are 18, coming straight from school, and thinking of doing an arts subject I would say go for it. Arts degrees teach you valuable skills that you can use in any job and in any walk of life. I feel arts degrees look at the whole of human history in a very human way. I think they teach you how to connect with people in a very human way and I think that’s so important.
Why is it important that we support the arts and keep them alive in education?
It’s important because the arts help so many children find a way of expressing themselves, whether that is in an emotional way or in a way that develops more comprehensive and healthier communication skills. If we lose the arts at a school-age level then the country will have lost generations. Culture is our main export and, to paraphrase Winston Churchill, if we don’t fight for the arts then what did we fight for?
Are you a current/former student studying an arts subject? Would you like to take part in ‘Getting to Know You?’ Get in touch via @KettleMag on Twitter and let us know!