What it’s like to be a third-year theatre student at Lancaster University

by Holly Bell

Being a third-year theatre student at Lancaster is an interesting experience. My third year has already been so busy and to make things harder I’m finishing the final year of my degree during the Coronavirus pandemic. So, I thought I would take you along with me and share my experiences of being a third-year theatre student at Lancaster university during a worldwide pandemic.

My degree is mainly made up of two parts. The academic side in which I study theatre theoretically and the physical side where I get to make and perform theatre and theatre techniques itself. So, this can be quite challenging to juggle both aspects of the degree, however I’ve found it really rewarding to have both experiences and gain different skills from each part of the degree. I’m currently studying a range of modules and I’ve really enjoyed the fact I have been able to choose some optional modules throughout my degree, which has meant that I have tailored my course to my interests. Here are some of the modules I am currently studying or took last term:

One optional module I selected was the LICA creative enterprise module. I chose this module because I’m really interested in creative arts organisations and the problems they face and learning about entrepreneurship, especially marketing in the arts sector. I’m really enjoying it because I’m getting to do a group project with a local creative arts business to solve one of their problems. This is valuable experience for me and has enabled me to understand more about creative entrepreneurship and has inspired me to consider working for an arts organisation or even creating my own creative business in the future.

Another module I’m currently taking is Advanced Theatre practice. This module is where we get to devise work and perform in groups. I really love this module because I enjoy performing and I have chosen to be part of the dance group because dance is a massive interest of mine. Much as I love it, of course dance isn’t up everyone’s street and you can choose other options. Usually before the pandemic we would be doing this module in person and performing in the Nuffield theatre, however due to the pandemic we have currently started creating work online. My group has found this an exciting challenge to adapt to and it has allowed for new creative ideas to emerge. I have chosen to be assessed in my dance performance during this module but as I am also interested in coming up with ideas for the set and costume design.

Alongside this, I’m doing my dissertation. I have chosen to do this on dance therapy as it is something I would like to learn more about. This could be a difficult topic as its new for me, but I am interested in discovering more about dance therapy and how it can help people, so I am finding it really engaging to study.

Last term I took two other modules alongside starting my creative enterprise module and my dissertation. One of these modules was contemporary dance and the visual arts. This module was remarkably busy with both theoretical and practical elements. In the theory side I learnt about different contemporary dance and art practitioners and chose one to write an essay on. For the practical work, last term I had classes in person and got to explore the contemporary dance practitioners’ dance styles before I selected one whose techniques I would use in my work. For this module I chose to perform a dance solo. Previously in my degree I had predominantly performed in dance group work, so it was novel to choose a solo to choreograph and perform. However, I was proud of my final performance and how I had progressed during this module, especially with developing my dance and choreographing skills. My feedback was helpful, especially in suggesting ways I could improve which will benefit me in other modules in the future.

Last term I also studied a module called the Popular, the Political and the Avant Garde where I learnt about different types of theatre. I found it in interesting to learn about popular theatre types and particularly found the weeks about musicals and stand-up comedy really engaging. My group selected stand-up comedy to do a presentation which I really enjoyed learning about especially as it’s a type of performance I haven’t previously engaged with.

Those have been some of my experiences from my third year as a theatre student at Lancaster University. It’s certainly already been a third year to remember, even if it’s different than how I imagined it. It has definitely been challenging and a lot to adapt to, however I have found the pandemic has allowed for different opportunities and new creative possibilities when devising theatre. I’m excited about what the rest of my final year studying theatre at Lancaster may hold!


Holly is a third year undergraduate at Lancaster University and is studying Drama, Theatre and Performance.

Lancaster University employs students to create authentic content from a student perspective. All views expressed in this article are those of the students, and do not necessarily reflect the views or position of Lancaster University.

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