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christopherpope
11th September 2018

From Freshers to Fringe: A Graduate’s Advice

Chris reminisces about university life and his theatre-related achievements as a student
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From Freshers to Fringe: A Graduate’s Advice
Photo: Chris Pope

I have always wanted to write something in The Mancunion. Since hearing about the student newspaper in my freshers’ week in 2015, I had always wanted to make regular contributions. I did not do this, of course. I never got around to it.  I have now graduated and left and this will be my first and only contribution.

When I got to university I was determined to set up ‘Manchester Revue’, a student sketch troupe. Again, however, I never got around to doing this. I got distracted. I got heavily involved in The Drama Society and Musical Theatre Society (UMMTS). I barely had time to do anything else. In my second year, I set up the Shakespeare Society which again prevented me from starting the revue. It did, however, teach me a lot about leadership and organisation, and I do hope that it continues to gain professional attraction in the years to come.

At the beginning of my third year, I saw that UMMTS were advertising for a director in their brand-new musical troupe, Manchester Musical Revue (MMR). Although ‘musical’ was now in the title, I felt that this troupe could satisfy my initial goal so I applied and somehow got the position. I was then given the very talented Bonnie Schwarz to be my musical director.

We created our first production in November called Where Dreams Come True, a Disneyesque cabaret. Following the positive reviews, we decided to put on my self-written musical, The Fear. This, written with the help of Calum Pearce and Tom Carswell, also received positive reviews. This prompted us to perform it Edinburgh Fringe. Here, we received a five-star review from Musical Talk, our own podcasted interview, and various offers to help take the musical further.

It is strange now to reminisce back to when I was a young pubescent fresher. Given how far it has gone, it is also strange to think that The Fear started out as a hungover idea my flatmates and I had one Saturday morning. MMR has truly been a wonderful and vibrant group to help set up. I hope it continues to be a platform for directors and musical directors to explore their talents with likeminded creatives. To incoming freshers, I would say grab uni by the horns and make the most of it. Sign up to bizarre societies, explore your own creative outlets, and question your own views. If you do, it will be one of the best experiences of your life. You will make contacts and friends with people you will want to stay with for the rest of your lives.

Anyway, I’m now off to look for a job.


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