Theatre and Film Personal Statement
Submitted by Niamh
Many cinema-goers and theatre patrons alike will state that drama, whether it be on the screen or stage, allows for the projection of imagination to transport us to a vast fantastical world of fiction. However, as an aspiring filmmaker, director and theatre creator, I disagree. Instead, cinematography and performing arts are inherently a vehicle for truth. Whether a film director's intention is to convey the verity of hope, as in Gina Prince Bythewood's 'The Secret Life of Bees', or a playwright's aim is to reveal the perils of insidious jealousy in Shakespeare's 'Othello', though scripts and screenplays may be fictitious, what is experienced by viewers is far from make-believe. What is created instead is a brilliant mixture of real thoughts, feelings and events experienced by all those who worked on the piece, from the casting directors to score composers. Whether on the big screen or on the most intimate of stages, truth shapes drama, and that is what electrifies me.
However, this relationship is not unrequited; in turn, drama shapes truth. Performing arts have undeniably altered the human experience throughout the thousands of years they have been practiced. It is for this reason, I strive to study theatre and film. I want to not only further my experience producing and crafting art for the screen and stage, but also to widen my comprehending of human history and emotion, as I believe one cannot truly understand plays and motion pictures without first exploring the truth behind them. My appreciation and fascination with the creation and reception of theatrical art combined with my love of in-depth analytical writing, shaped by my enthusiasm for English literature, demonstrates that studying a film and theatre degree is the correct endeavour for me.
Upon entering Year 13, I chose not to continue studying Drama and Theatre Studies, as I had already encountered many of the Shakespearean and classical plays throughout my English Literature A-Level. However, this has not prevented my pursuit for education and creation of drama and motion picture. This summer, I took a week long acting and directing summer school at Guildford School of Acting, accredited by the University of Surrey. This intense masterclass enabled me to develop my understanding of how to approach texts, both scripts and screenplays, in order to truthfully project the writer's intention. On this course I gained insight into how to truly understand Shakespearean dialogue, as well as invaluable experience and confidence by being placed into a learning environment with people I had never met before. In addition to this, I also took a screenwriting course accredited by UEA and provided by Future Learn; this enabled me to cultivate my understanding of narrative development and story arcs, as well as how directors such as Alfred Hitchcock subvert these typical structures.
When I am not busy studying, I work part-time at a local theatre. Not only has this job helped me to improve my professionalism, build my CV and gain valuable skills, it also provides insight into the inner workings of a theatre, from set construction to audience criticism. I also enjoy watching content created on YouTube, a platform where short films as well as film and theatre criticism thrive.
Outside of my love for theatre and film, I greatly enjoy singing and playing guitar and have been part of choir tours performing in prestigious venues across Europe such as Disneyland Paris.
For me, university would enable me to develop my critical and academic understanding of theatre and film (as well as their social and cultural contexts) and exercise my passion for performance and production. I look forward to broadening my horizons and pushing the boundaries of the two mediums, as well as working with like-minded creatives on group projects. Looking to the future, I hope to not only study drama and motion picture, but practice and create them too.