Your voice for the festival

Noises Off is a place for you to write reviews, share your thoughts, make some jokes and join in the discussion. You can submit articles by email to [email protected], or – even better – come and visit the Noffice in the Campus Centre at any time of the day and discuss ideas with the team. Follow and tweet us @noffmag.

Vat of nuclear boiling whatever

1 April 2018

Ava Davies talks to Speed Death of the Radiant Child's director Ben Kulvichit for our zine.

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The state of the blog

31 March 2018

Florence Bell, Ava Davies and Kate Wyver discuss theatre blogging and its current lack of magnetism

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With the end in mind

30 March 2018

Louisa Doyle on Lights Over Tesco Carpark and the peak-end rule

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I don't want to miss a thing

30 March 2018

Sam Ross reflects on his first NSDF

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To know more about ourselves

30 March 2018

No wonder we're so addicted to Netflix, says Nadeem Lalaas he examines how we talk about minority representation in theatre

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Fringe benefits

30 March 2018

 Joanna Trainor shares tips for producers heading to the Fringe

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Shock factor

29 March 2018

Is needling reactions out of audiences good theatre practice? asks Iona Cameron

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Careless whisper

29 March 2018

Student theatre needs to think more seriously about audition welfare, says Rosa Faye

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You got a friend in me

29 March 2018

How do you review shows by your friends? asks Ava Davies

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On words

29 March 2018

Formal experimentation in criticism is as important as in playwriting, says Naomi Obeng

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Stand up, sit down

28 March 2018

Will the real Daniella Harrison please stand up? 

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White out

28 March 2018

 NSDF isn't as inclusive as it could be – what can we do to change that? asks Ava Davies

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What can be done

28 March 2018

Naomi Obeng recommends actions to be taken at future festivals 

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The audience steps up

28 March 2018

Louisa Doyle on the surprising things that can happen when someone gets up out of the dark

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Hey good lookin’

28 March 2018

Anne Mullener explores the aesthetics of Albatross, Kinder K and Grounded

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The lonely hearts club band

28 March 2018

Lily James unpacks how the theme of isolation emerges in this year's shows 

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Backseat driver

28 March 2018

 Joanna Trainor explores the power of criticism

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It's always now until it's later

28 March 2018

Harsh words stick, says Richard Tzanov - it's why Noises Off is so important

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Ten steps to please your tech

28 March 2018

James Dawson, Chris Armistead and Ciara Shrager and many other members of the Technical Team want you to help them to help you

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Working better

28 March 2018

Lucy Ellinson offers some practical actions we can take to look after ourselves and the audience

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U Ok Hun?

27 March 2018

 Ava Davies explores the constant exhaustion of issue-based shows

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The first time

26 March 2018

Daniella Harrison gets to grips with the weird and wonderful quirks of NSDF

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Actions speak louder

26 March 2018

Enough with the thoughts and hope: Naomi Obeng is challenging you to take direct action

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Get onboard

26 March 2018

Florence Bell talks to Lights Over Tesco Carpark director Jack Bradfield about how to do sci-fi without using much technical skill

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Accessibility: hu r u 

26 March 2018

 Technician James Dawson reflects on the first discussion

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where is everyone (from everyone that isn’t here)

25 March 2018

Benjamin Monk is searching for the missing figures

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The ones that got away

25 March 2018

Florence Bell unpicks the selection process for NSDF

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Counting on it

25 March 2018

How much does it cost to bring a show to NSDF? Joanna Trainor does the maths

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The order of things: Management Team

25 March 2018

Lily James catches up with Francesca Russo to find out what it’s like being part of the NSDF Management Team

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Listen and learn

25 March 2018

Festival judge Kerry Kyriacos Michael talks to Louisa Doyle about the importance of open debate, diversity and political theatre

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Inside out

25 March 2018

Mental health, captivity and isolation are recurring themes at this year’s festival. Naomi Obeng unpicks the shows exploring internal and external space

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Concerning the UFO sighting near De Montfort, Leicester

25 March 2018

Daniella Harrison investigates Lights Over Tesco Carpark

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Un-natural selection

25 March 2018

To what extent is history repeating itself? asks Anne Mulleners

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search?q=how+cliquey+is+NSDF

25 March 2018

Ava Davies (who has never been to NSDF but is writing for Noff this year), George Brooker (also an NSDF virgin who is performing at the festival this year) and Eve Allin (who has been to NSDF many a time and is the writer of Seeking Intimacy, one of the shows at the festival this year), are very good friends. They had a chat about NSDF before a gig at Roundhouse

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Interview: Dahmer in Scarborough's Terror Tower

23 March 2016

Jeffrey Dahmer was a monster by anyone's standards. He killed 17 boys and men between 1978 and 1991 – and even ate parts of their flesh. Amie Petriccia-Lear's play tells his story. So we took her and director Thomas Newall to the scariest place in Scarborough to find out more: horror experience Terror Tower.

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Earning your stripes

14 April 2017

The reality of onstage pain, by Oliver Strong

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Troubled times

11 April 2017

The Iconoclasts pays due reverence to the music and comedy, so why is the same respect not shown to Northern Ireland's history? asks Daryl Holden

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The forgotten discussion

11 April 2017

We should be doing a lot more to provide access for those with disabilities, says Helen Morley

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An old man writes

10 April 2017

Festival veteran Kieran Balfe reminisces about the last time NSDF was in Hull

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That's what happened

11 April 2017

Lily James chats with the cast of Swallow about their rehearsal process, journeys taken and gender-blind casting

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In plain sight

9 April 2017

Lily James talks to Alex Prescot, director of Hidden, about the difficulties of hiding in student theatre, and the frustrations of barcodes on creme eggs 

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'Can you take me back with you?'

23 March 2016

by Kate Wyver

Many of us who say we want a career in theatre are often asked what we’ll actually do, how we’re actually useful, if our degree is actually real. We are asked, essentially, to justify our skillset and our interests. At the end of yesterday’s discussion we had something that in five minutes not only justified but also added value to everything that we do. 

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A bitter pill

11 April 2017

The casting in Swallow of a cisgender man in a trans role needs to be challenged, says Callum Kenny

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Hear The People Sing: Jo Cox tribute

14 April 2017

Dona Munday explains her summer project in tribute to the MP

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Return to form

11 April 2017

After developing PTSD, Anna Follows lost her spark for theatre. Here she describes her experience, and how she got her drive back

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The artist is present, and screaming

11 April 2017

Seeing No Human is Illegal moved Iain Orr to scream and shout and promise to turn every head towards the refugee crisis

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That's what she said

22 March 2016

by Kate Wyver

They cum at the same time, they share bedtime story duty and they share swanky suits. Mark Ravenhill’s political drama Over There focuses on a pair of identical twin brothers reunited after the fall of the Berlin Wall, but director Josie Davies has chosen to cast gender-blind with Bryony Davies and Samuel Wightman playing the twins.

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Living in the theatre bubble

10 April 2017

There is no stranger danger at NSDF, says Joseph Winer. In fact, it's the opposite

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Little Bird

12 April 2017

A call to action from Hannah Hughes

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The value of criticism: an interview with Mark Shenton

10 April 2017

Mark Shenton is the lead theatre critic for The Stage. Kate Wyver sat down with him to ask for some advice

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How not to make friends

25 March 2016

by Joseph Winer

On telling people that no, I am not with a show, no, I am not part of the company, and no, I don’t even go to a university associated with one of the shows, I receive a general response of “Well done!” and “Wow, that’s brave!”. To combat the potential loneliness that would have isolated me to the realms of my B&B, with nothing to do but write for Noises Off all week, I made the conscious decision to mingle.

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Truth is stronger with fiction

22 March 2016

by Richard Dennis

There was a moment in Sunday's discussion on looking after ourselves and each other when a question was asked about using people's personal stories when making theatre. Luke Barnes answered by saying that the person you're writing about should be at the centre of the process, and it's not about the writer's vision. This was met with general consent, but I wonder how universally applicable this rule is when making theatre, especially after seeing The Beanfield and Daniel.

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Noble envy

24 March 2016

by Lily James

Envy sits in the corner, tearing the label off its beer. It’s a feeling that lives at the backs of workshops, at the corners of the bar. And I have been envious this week. Worse, at times I’ve been actively very jealous.

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Sanitised discussions

24 March 2016

by Kelly Goldring

What is the point?

When I first came along to the NSDF I was told that a key highlight was the vibrant discussions which would dissect the theatrical productions and consider the merits and area of weakness of each piece allowing true reflection for all involved.

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Surviving and thriving as a freelancer

24 March 2016

by Alice Saville

What's your plan after graduating? University careers officers, parents and friends might all be doing their best to persuade you that if you don't have a solid gold graduate job offer then you'll end up hawking dented tins of catfood from a tartan wheelie shopper within a decade. You don't need to listen to them. 

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Scarborough rock: Alan Ayckbourn's support for the Steven Joseph Theatre

22 March 2016

by Alice Saville

Bite into Alan Ayckbourn (not literally, we're strictly respectful here) and you'd find him patterned through with Scarborough like a stick of John Bull's rock (and it's much better than Blackpool's rival offering, if you're asking). His 60-year, 80-play career would be formidable if it weren't for the sweetness of his work, cut through with enough acidity to sting but not enough to deter the flocking holiday crowds.

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The after effect

21 March 2016

by Kate Wyver

NSDF’s post-lunch discussions are one of the most communal parts of the festival, led daily by the ever fair, ever so slightly scary Chris Thorpe. The subject of the first discussion, "how to look after ourselves and others", feels timely as the production, management and technical teams are working flat out. 

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Did you get a bad review?

13 April 2017

A poetic response to the criticism of Florence Bell and Lily James, by Miriam Schechter

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Part of a bigger picture

13 April 2017

Lilith Wozniak and Ben Kulvichit discuss their reaction to Pixels and sci-fi theatre in general

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Interview - Timothy West

19 March 2016

by Richard Dennis

The National Student Drama Festival started in 1956, and is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. Actor Timothy West was there all those years ago, and we spoke to him about what he remembers and how the acting world has changed. 

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Learning to drive

28 March 2018

Mark Shenton ponders what part critics play in the discussion

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Interview - Josie Davies

19 March 2016

by Kate Wyver

Josie Davies, co-producer of the highly acclaimed Lemons, Lemons, Lemons, Lemons, Lemons at NSDF last year, is returning to the 2016 festival as director of Mark Ravenhill’s political drama Over There with the Warwick University Drama Society. “We built a kind of community at last year’s festival and there was already so much support by the time we went with the show to Edinburgh,” she says, so she’s excited to approach this year with a more directly artistic view.

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Just a voice

24 March 2016

by Kate Wyver

“How real is it?”

This is the question that’s been whispered round the in-the-round theatre as soon as the lights come up on Daniel. I sat down with the cast and crew to unpeel the layers of truth beneath this provocative piece of new writing about the impact of child pornography.

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The empty space: the mystery of UCL’s disappearing theatres

19 March 2016

by Alice Saville

As theatre director Peter Brook had it, “I can take any empty space and call it a bare stage.” It’s a fine idea. But what does a student drama society do when it’s forced to search harder and harder for the room to exist?

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Behind the curtain on the NSDF awards

by Alice Saville

Getting a show to the NSDF is already a pretty sweet achievement: albeit one that requires tons of hard work and fundraising to enjoy. But the cherry on the top is winning a prize at the festival awards. We've interviewed Robert Hewison to get the inside story on how the judging system works – and on a few times where it's been inches from chaos.

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Consider yourself proven wrong

13 April 2017

Eve Allin is tired of being edited out of her own history

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Open letter to the cast of Daniel

23 March 2016

To the cast and crew of Daniel,

There are many things I would like to say to you all, but I feel it is appropriate first to thank you. Those of you who I have already spoken to have treated me with such kindness and showed genuine concern and thoughtfulness towards my position.

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Off to Neverland

13 April 2017

Kate Wyver demands we're given the space to play

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March for our lives

25 March 2018

 Polly Howarth with a message of support for the students in the US marching for gun control

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When I think of Syria

14 April 2017

Munya Redman-Bayasi remembers Syria before 2011, which the rest of the world seems to have forgotten

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Taking the numb out of numbers

9 April 2017

Phoebe Graham talks to director Josie Davies about the challenges of responding to the Syrian crisis through theatre.

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Credit where credit's due

14 April 2017

Shannon Atherton on how the issues facing us in society have been tackled with skill, respect and consideration

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It's nothing personal until it is

14 April 2017

Callum Kenny pockets his £20 like a trooper

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All the small things

9 April 2017

The musical Ordinary Days eschews 'big fancy numbers' and 'jazz hands' for intimate moments and everyday experiences, director Sophie Forster tells Kate Wyver

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Boxes within boxes within boxes

14 April 2017

Ghee Bowman talks to Pixels designer David Callanan about how he achieved the show's onstage technical wizardry

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To myself, a week ago

14 April 2017

Florence Bell gives some advice to her past self

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Much extend, very metaphor, wow

14 April 2017

Alex Prescot on the intensity of a week at NSDF, and whether that's a good thing

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The resistance

14 April 2017

Louise Cross responds to Ghee Bowman's provocation

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'Minority' report

14 April 2017

Jasmine Chong reflects on her own ethnic Chinese identity in the context of the UK and student theatre

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Rewrite the narrative

14 April 2017

Kate Wyver responds to the discussion on women in leadership

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From the quiet human in the corner

14 April 2017

One festgoer has loved this week, but picks holes in the way the festival runs

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Room for everyone

9 April 2017

Student theatre has a responsibility to promote diversity, and new writing is one important way of doing that, says Florence Bell

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Prove me wrong

12 April 2017

Ghee Bowman asks why students are afraid of the classics

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Pause for dramatic effect

11 April 2017

Wilkie Dickinson-Sparkes on how breaks in iambic pentameter provide insights into Shakespeare's characters

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As A Man

14 April 2017

Oliver Rudge from he she they reflects on gender

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