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Cath Day

MA Text and Performance

Cath Day was looking at a theatre directing course at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) when she noticed the MA Text and Performance run jointly by Birkbeck and RADA and thought that it looked more appealing as it covered a broader range of topics.

Cath says: ‘I finished my undergraduate degree twenty years ago (!) and Birkbeck was very good at providing sessions before the course began to help us prepare for returning to study. They were very good at emphasising the need for good time-management – which proved essential.

‘Despite the long break in my studies I didn’t feel too daunted about coming back to university. It was only after I began the course that I realised just how intellectually rigorous and academically challenging it was, but for me that was very positive and pleasant surprise.

‘A key benefit of the course was that it provided a plethora of opportunities for students to build networks and make contacts within the theatre world. Both Birkbeck and RADA organised guest lectures and provided a forum in which you could make contact with playwrights, theatre directors and other industry professionals. It put me in touch with people that I just wouldn’t have come into contact with otherwise.

‘The regular lecturers on the course were also fantastic - not only engaging and challenging but also able to meet the needs of every level of ability in the class. The staff within the School of Arts were incredibly accommodating in terms of finding us rehearsal space and the library staff were able to source materials from other libraries for me whenever I needed it. Of course Birkbeck’s location is also fantastic for arts students – it’s so close to London’s theatres and galleries.

‘My ideas about what I wanted to do professionally changed during the course. Initially, I wanted to be a theatre director but am now setting up my own theatre company - Hell Bent Theatre - with another student from the course. We are currently developing my dissertation project – UKIP! The Musical – and are taking it to the Edinburgh Fringe in August.

‘I remember reading in the prospectus people saying ‘Birkbeck changed my life’. For me, I think it freed up the creative side of me that was only partially fulfilled through teaching. It has nudged me down a route that I wouldn’t have been able to access if I’d stayed doing what I was doing. I think of it as a career reboot – and a very energising one at that.’

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'I think of it as a career reboot - and a very energising one at that.'