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A student participates in a drama performance while one of their peers watches on from behind.
More than your name in lights Dance, drama and musical theatre

“The only failure is not to try,” says George Clooney. “Don’t be afraid to fail,” says Jon Hamm. “Your regrets aren’t what you did, but what you didn’t do,” says Cameron Diaz. Even Hollywood stars have to take the rough with the smooth.

And we’re not going to lie to you. Only a tiny number of performers become box office royalty, whether that’s in dance, drama or musical theatre.

But that’s not what we’re about, anyway. We’re about giving you the technical tools, creative confidence and open-minded attitude to try. To get the experience you need to make the right creative and career decisions for you.

So we’re about helping you see the whole picture – from the grassroots of performance through to the elite level, from backstage to centre stage, from the West End to the heart of every community. The Arts matter, at all levels.

And it’s a team effort. Wherever your interests lie – in theatre, choreography, media, teaching, community work, professional companies, theatre administration, community arts, or further study – we can help you get there. Some of our graduates have even stepped out on their own to establish independent companies and businesses in fringe and community arts.

Our academics are accomplished performers, with industry links both regionally and nationally. They will prepare you for your chosen career.

They will support you in voluntary placements during your course, but experience is built into our degrees, because being a part of a public performance is a mandatory part of every year of your course. It’s at the centre of everything we’re trying to achieve. Each year, you’ll be part of the show – whether that’s on-stage or behind the scenes.

Which means that at the end of your course, whatever you choose to do, you will be ready to try.

The professional actor

It was Daniel Hippolyte Carmichael’s mum who spotted the Edge Hill drama course. He hadn’t even considered university. The new resident actor for CBBC’s Dengineers thought, “why not? I might be good at it.”

He was, but it took him a while:

“I thought it was all a bit weird, but in time I realised how amazing it was, finding the meaning of these somewhat bizarre classes which freed me. I was good at performing, liked learning new acting styles, understanding what performing really is.”

It hasn’t always been a barrel of laughs. After graduating, launching Comic turns entertaining university basketball team-mates revealed a natural raconteur. An open mic stand-up slot gave him the confidence to put himself in the spotlight.

Ultimately, university gave Daniel the confidence to harness his natural talent. “Don’t wait until you finish your degree to start scripting your own comedy and drama shorts,” he advises. “Creating showreels and contacting the media courses for collaborations. Build those relationships. Being able to highlight your strengths will give you a head start.”

The community artist

Isobel Davis (BA (Hons) Dance) teaches at the dance school where she started out as a 12 year old. It certainly wasn’t her plan. All she knew at that point was how much she loved dance. It’s still true today:

“I love to move, I love the way I feel when I move, I love the way I feel after I move or when I’m watching other people move.”

Dancer Isobel Davis

Isobel works at Déda in Derby, as a dance development and learning co-ordinator. Until she began her degree she thought performing was her only option:

“I looked at dance in education and how it can inspire creativity in children. My course showed me that creativity can come from anywhere and you can make a performance out of anything.”

Her first job involved running workshops in more than 100 primary schools, shouldering a lot of responsibility. Now she’s back making a difference where it all began: “Every day is different at Déda. I’m involved in several community projects, such as a dance project for care leavers based on a zombie apocalypse, and Dance with Dementia, which allows people with dementia to participate in dance workshops in care homes. “Edge Hill gave me the confidence to try different things. It nourished my creativity and made me feel like my ideas could go somewhere.”

The artistic director

“If not now, when? If not you, who?” wrote Sarah Sharp (BA (Hons) Drama) in her final year dissertation.

Teaching can wait, she thought:

“I knew I needed to push for a career in theatre. No matter what, I’d always know that I hadn’t given up on a dream before I’d even started.”

An image of drama student, Sarah Sharp

And she continues to hold close the techniques she learnt at Edge Hill:

“The main part of a director’s job is to give an actor the tools to discover a character for themselves.”

She launched Succour Punch Theatre from Liverpool in 2017, with a manifesto that focuses on social change, and now with three successful shows under her belt. Another was in production, and then the pandemic happened. But the show must go on, and they’ve filmed it instead, for an appreciative digital audience. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy, but being part of a booming and supportive theatre scene certainly helps.

May 11, 2022


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