ANNOUNCEMENT – Autumn Fringe Festival

Semester One Opportunities and Applications

University of Manchester Drama Society 2020/21

Below we have outlined a few changes to our semester one plans that will enable us to still create work as a society within current guidelines. If you have any questions about these changes, we will be holding a general meeting via zoom on Wednesday 30th September at 2pm with the committee where you can ask questions. We’d also love to hear from you about the ways you’ve enjoyed socialising or engaging with theatre during lockdown so far. (A Zoom link for this will be shared on the Facebook event on the day)

We’d also like to take a moment to draw your attention to our new website where you can find more out about who this year’s committee are and their aims.

Autumn Fringe Festival

Unlike previous years, our Autumn Fringe Festival will take place as a three-day festival showcasing a range of work and encouraging engagement with various mediums. We are planning a festival that can be presented completely online due to the current advice from the Students Union that we cannot yet hold in person events. The festival will take place on the 4-6th December.

Currently we hope to showcase multiple filmed pieces of theatre and a selection of radio plays. The nature of the festival hopes to encourage creative thinking around how to make and present theatre in this difficult time for the arts. There is huge opportunity for experimentation and less conventional theatre making this semester and we hope many of you will take risks in your projects – there is no right or wrong in this new age of theatre. We will be welcoming a range of applications from the new writing, devised work, video work, sound work as well as solo and group pieces. Take inspiration from the provocations we will be including in the application form guidance and of course let the limitations we face challenge you to think in new ways!

All projects that are filmed or recorded will be offered technical support and opportunities to edit your footage to create high quality final products that do justice to all your hard work. We’ll be adding new roles (sound designer, videography and editing) to our pool this year to accommodate this so if you are interested in getting involved keep an eye out for this. 

Autumn festival, pool and freshers project applications will be opening on Sat 3rd October and the deadline will be Fri 16th Oct with interviews around 22nd-23rd Oct (likely on zoom).

Freshers Play

It is also worth noting that our usual freshers play has also been altered. This year rather than asking freshers to produce their version of a published play (although don’t worry we hope this may be able to happen in semester 2!) we want our freshers team to work together to create a series of filmed monologues and duologues (written by fellow students) following a chosen theme. The theme and direction of the monologues as well as the creative decision making around how to present them will be carried out by a director and accompanying creative team made up entirely of first years. Applications for this creative team will be released soon. After selection we will then support the chosen team in finding first year actors and writers to get involved in making it all happen! This freshers project will be included in the autumn festival.

Autumn festival, pool and freshers project applications will be opening on Sat 3rd October and the deadline will be Fri 16th Oct with interviews around 22nd-23rd Oct (likely on zoom).

We understand this time can feel distressing and unfulfilling for theatre creatives and performers. But we feel this format will offer a way of showcasing the wide range of talent our society boasts as well as ensuring the safety of our members. Other than the autumn festival we will be continuing to hold socials in whatever capacity we are able to AND will be continuing to run workshops virtually until they can be in person again – look out for announcements about workshop opportunities on our social media!

Please bare in mind that, throughout the semester and indeed over this next year, we will be consistently working with the guidance we receive from the Student Union as well as considering the progression of the pandemic into the winter season as influencing factors for how we organise this society and this festival. Although it may not always be ideal, we feel this format gives an exciting opportunity to find ways to continue improving accessibility and diversity whilst finding new ways of collaborating and socialising with each other. We hope you will be patient and optimistic so that you can continue to enjoy your involvement with our society over the next year. We also ask that you are open and communicate your concerns and feedback to us throughout!

We can’t wait to see all the amazing work that we know will come out of this semester!

All the best,

Sophia Rosen Fouladi and Natalie Hillman (2020/21 Co-presidents)

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