The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

A New Year, A New Chair

Exclusive interview with the new Chair for the Drama Society 2010-2011

By

Interview with Sophie Read, Chair of the Drama Society 2010-2011


What is the drama society?

It is one of the biggest societies in the Manchester Student Union which offers everyone a chance to be involved in theatre. If you like to act, direct, stage manage, or even just watch, this is the society for you! We put on between 10 and 15 shows a year which are all proposed by our members, as well as holding fundraisers and other events. Each year we put on the Manchester In-Fringe Theatre Festival as well as this year’s Autumn Showcase which will comprise of three shows in October and November. Watch out for auditions coming soon.

What is the drama society and what are the roles of its members?

The committee and I run the society. We select the shows to be performed and help the production teams to put on the best shows possible.  Our responsibilities include anything from running the box office to helping backstage. We also organise all the venues and the hire of technical equipment for the shows, as well as providing the budgets for them to go ahead.

The Secretary of the society sends emails to everyone on the mailing list giving out all the information of show dates, audition times, events and opportunities for students. Our social secretary organises all drama society social activities from the Welcome Party to the MIFTAs (Manchester In-Fringe Theatre Festival Awards) Ceremony just before Easter.  The society’s Publicity Officer will be making sure you all hear about everything that is going on, whilst the Treasurer will be handling all our expenses.

What main events are happening this new student year? Who can be involved in them?

This year we have the Autumn Showcase, taking place in November. It will feature three productions, one of which will be located in the University’s own John Thaw Studio Theatre. We’ll then move on to the Manchester In-Fringe Theatre Festival, which will be a month long event featuring some of the best of Manchester’s theatrical talent in around 10 different shows.  There is also the Summer Musical, in which the Drama and Music societies collaborate to produce one huge musical.  Anyone can get involved in all our productions, just watch out for auditions and calls for technicians and Stage Managers in the weekly emails. You can even direct as well. You don’t have to know what you are doing – we can always help out, so why not try and learn a new skill! Even if you only want to watch you can still join. Your membership card guarantees inclusion on our mailing list, and also entitles you to ticket discounts.

What would you advise any budding actors/actresses/producers/directors who have just arrived at Manchester and want to get involved in drama at MU?

We have a stall at the Welcome fair – come and say hi! A membership card costs £5, but lasts all year round.  There is also a welcome party for new members.  If you miss us at the Welcome fair, you can email umudrama@hotmail.com or umudramatech@hotmail.co.uk to join.  Check out our new website at http://www.umdramasoc.co.uk/.  We’re open to anyone who wants to have a go. Any members from the society can put forward a proposal for a show and any members can audition for it or get involved in the production team. This year we are hoping to put together a fantastic programme of workshops for our society members. Even if you don’t want to be on the stage, there is something for you!

Finally, how have you found your experiences in the drama society?

This will be my third year with the Drama Society and I have loved every minute of it. It is made up of such an amazing bunch of people and is a great way to make new friends. It can be a bit scary at first, but come along to our welcome party and meet some of our members – they’re so welcoming and friendly! Everyone pulls together to create some fantastic pieces of theatre.  Please get in touch if you have any questions – we want to hear from you!  Keep checking the Arts section for more information about upcoming events within the Drama Society.