Picture this: you’re sat in a beautiful venue filled with all the hustle and bustle of a mini Fringe Festival. A group of other creative-types walk in through the doors and come and sit next to you, ready to discuss what exciting new theatre you are scheduled to see today. You met them yesterday. They’re now your best friends. Surprise; you’re at NSDF.
For a performer, the week-long National Student Drama Festival is set up with different routes that you are sorted into depending on what time you are due to be on stage so that you get a chance to see and take part in everything available. On the different routes, you have the rest of the incredibly talented student work that the festival has brought together. On top of that, there are scheduled discussions for the whole festival where you can voice your opinion on the issues that are being touched upon throughout the festival. As somebody who is incredibly poor at planning my own itinerary, this was a lifesaver.
You go to the front desk, you get a band, you get a schedule, you have a cracking week and you make some new friends in the process. When we attended NSDF, our company was only 1 year old. We are still learning what kind of theatre we want to
create and we probably will be doing for the next few years. Having the opportunity to attend a festival of work created by people who are in the same position as us was priceless and the selectors clearly do a fantastic job at bringing a variety of themes, styles and genres of theatre to the festival whether they be finished products or a work-in-progress.
As a graduate company, it is important for us to see as much theatre as possible. Heck, it’s so important for any artist to see as much theatre as possible! NSDF doesn’t just provide you with a treasure trove of work, it provides a platform for young artists to share thoughts and feelings on the work they are creating in a supportive environment. The comments we received on our show are invaluable and we spent many days throughout the week continuing discussions surrounding our show with other festival-goers, making sure we got as much out of the experience as we could.
NSDF doesn't just provide you with a treasure trove of work, it provides a platform for young artists to share thoughts and feelings on the work they're creating in a supportive environment.
On top of the notes we left the festival with, we also managed to make contacts with industry professionals who were attending the festival as selectors and workshop leaders and have since stayed in contact with many of them. They are at the festival to enrich the whole experience and are more than happy to sit down and have a chat about your show or simply give advice on your next steps within the arts.
I could go on forever about my experience at the festival, but just to summarise; if you were thinking of applying to take your show up to NSDF, do it! The chance to receive honest constructive feedback, make connections and see brand new theatre being created by the next generation of artists is incredible and the opportunities that will arise from that experience are right there waiting for you if you fully embrace what the festival has to offer.
I could go on forever about my experience at the festival, but just to summarise; if you were thinking of applying to take your show up to NSDF, do it!
We were fortunate enough to be provided the funds for our application by New Diorama Theatre through the NSDF Pickles Fund; a valuable resource for students like ourselves who would otherwise struggle to raise the application funds. The fund showcases how important it is for students to be given the opportunity to perform at NSDF, so whether you’re a writer, director, choreographer, musician, or even a clown, there is space for you at the National Student Drama Festival.
Samantha Miles Writer/Performer The Backpack Ensemble, The Search for the Black-browed Albatross