Welcome to our latest blog! If you haven’t joined us before, I’m Ash, Front of House and Audience Development Coordinator here at the New Adelphi Theatre. Whilst our doors may be physically closed, our virtual doors are wide open. Alongside the blog, I’ve also been very active on social media to help to continue our cultural exchange digitally, by sharing activities, news, resources and opportunities from the University, our friends, associate artists and colleagues. So, if you’re not already, follow us for the latest updates!
Our team, the Engagement Team, academic staff and students have also come together to coordinate and host many virtual shows and events since campus closed, to help continue artist development, showcase work and to celebrate the achievements of our amazing students and alumni. Some highlights:
- Our monthly New Adelphi Comedy Night in collaboration with ComedySportz UK went virtual to showcase the future stars of comedy and keep those improv muscles warm!
- Dr Caroline Magennis hosted an “in conversation with” award winning poet Seán Hewitt on Writing in lockdown – advice and tools for students to help “to reflect on the barriers and possibilities of writing in 2020.”
- MA Contemporary Theatre Practice students hosted their annual DYP Mini-Fest online! They are currently gearing up for their final Arrival Festival later in the summer.
- As they were unable to perform in our main space, Salford Uni Dance Society choreographed a socially distanced virtual performance of Beauty and the Beast – with props, costumes and all!
- Our team and the Under Construction student collective produced a Virtual Student Scratch Night to help continue their professional development and their work-in-progress scripts and performances.
- We hosted a three-day Q&A event with our friends at Imitating the Dog, who shared their knowledge and tools on working in performance, technical theatre and the business of theatre with our students. Watch this space as we develop a new digital learning residency with this ground-breaking company next semester. Also, check out their latest work: AIRLOCK, an innovative graphic novel, as part of the BBC Culture in Quarantine, supported by the New Adelphi Theatre.
- Tech Theatre Programme leader Luke Harrison and the Engagement Team hosted a full day of Professional Development Sessions with HOME for our Performance, Tech, Set Design, English and Drama students. Plus there were 1-2-1 drop in sessions with Jennie McCusker, Head of Talent Development and Jude Christian, Associate Director of Theatre. Our annual Media and Performance Film Festival went ahead online, with feedback from Jason Wood, Creative Director: Film and Culture at HOME.
- Our team worked closely with the academic team in Performance and English to coordinate a ‘Working in the Creative Industries’ Q&A’s with successful Alumni, such as John Tomlinson (Producer, Sheffiled Theatres), Louise Harney (Engagement Manager, The Lowry), Haiesha Mistry (Actor, Hollyoaks), Stacey Walker, (Director, Special Education Needs and Disability at Oldham Secondary School), Naqqash Khalid (Freelance Writer/Director) and more.
- The Engagement Team, with the support of many of our technical staff, hosted the annual Create Awards Ceremony on Facebook Live so that we could come together as a community to celebrate the achievements of this year’s graduating class of 2020!
- You can also discover the multitude of work created by the class of 2020, hear stories of award-winning achievements and find out how our students have remained creative during lockdown over on the WOO: Windows of Opportunity website.
As we draw to the end of a challenging academic year, we’d like to highlight some of the incredible achievements of our students during this difficult time.
As the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Salford Helen Marshall said in this special Graduation Message, “you are a super class”!
The School of Arts and Media were unfortunately unable to host the annual Create Awards this year and so they broadcasted the ceremony online, hosted by graduate and comedian Jack Gleadow! If you missed it, you can watch it here.
The Performance, English and Creative Writing Award was presented to Maisy virtually by our friend Claire Symonds, Senior Producer: Artist Development, The Lowry. Described as “one to watch”, Maisy has been not only a brilliant student, but a much valued member of the New Adelphi Theatre Front of House Team. I also had the honour of producing the very first SalFUNNI Edinburgh Fringe Project back in 2018, which Maisy was a part of. Maisy told me:
“Studying at Salford has provided endless opportunities from performing as a part of SalFUNNI at the Edinburgh Fringe, Chairing the Comedy Society, being an Usher at the New Adelphi Theatre, gaining representation as an actor with Cartwright Higgins Management, to finishing with a First Class Degree in Comedy Writing and Performance!
I firmly believe in the phrase ‘It’s who you know, not what you know’ and always make a point to network. I believe it’s the opportunities I’ve taken and people I’ve met alongside my degree that will inevitably get me into the industry. I have been able to create long lasting friendships and working relationships with other students and within the industry, most recently leading to the creation of mine and Actor/Writer Beth Westbrook’s production company – GhostCow Productions.
Even during a pandemic, Salford has provided me with a way of completing my degree, put on a series of careers events and continues to share endless industry opportunities we can get involved with at this time.
This year I was lucky enough to win the ‘Performance, English and Creative Writing’ Award at the Create Student Awards. I can’t thank Salford enough for the continuing support to try and provide a way to get into an industry that is currently struggling to exist. I may have graduated, but I know I will always be a part of the University of Salford.” – Maisy Whipp, Comedy Writing and Performance, Graduating Class of 2020.
Congratulations to our graduating student and theatre usher Maisy! We're so proud of you 🎉 https://t.co/WNecaNLzHr
— New Adelphi Theatre (@NA_Theatre) July 15, 2020
Back in June, alumnus James Monaghan and a cast and crew of our students live-streamed a durational performance, as part of HOME’s #Homemakers project. The project received a ★★★★ review from The Guardian! Such an incredible achievement for all involved! Read the interview with James and our students here.
We’d like to extend an extra special mention to Second Year Technical Theatre student Sarah Johnson, who technically supported ‘Let’s Spend the Night Together’, alongside professionals.
When I mentioned Sarah to James, he replied: “She was amazing!”
Back in January, Sarah also took on the stage management, design and operation of Double-bill Hiya Anxiety + THIS IS NOT FOR YOU (ps sorry) by Debs Gatenby and our second year Performance students at the Lowry’s Aldridge Studio, as part of the Theatre and Performance Practice Festival.
Debs and lecturer Kelli also sang her praises. “Sarah, you are an extremely creative person. You have integrity and impeccable interpersonal skills. You gave so much to this project. Your enthusiasm and determination to finish a task was impressive. You also showed great diligence and resilience under stress. You are already operating at a ‘professional’ level. I appreciated working alongside you every day.” – Debs Gatenby, Performer.
“Your willingness to learn and continually improve yourself will set you up well for a career in this industry. You should be very pleased with not only the work you helped create during this module but also the way in which you did it. Well done.” – Dr Kelli Zezulka, Lecturer in Technical Theatre (Stage and Production Management)
As someone who is often found behind the scenes, I am conscious that crew and support staff don’t always get the recognition they deserve. But #Technicians(really do)MakeItHappen. More so now than ever before. So, a big shout-out to Sarah and everyone working behind the scenes!
Retired National Champion Rhythmic Gymnast for China and MA Dance student Wenwen Wang has become a television star after appearing on China’s ‘The Greatest Dancer’! You may have seen her grace our stage back in November for our annual premiere of Emergence Dance Company ahead of their national tour.
And to top all of that, Wenwen was also awarded The Dean’s Award at this year’s Create having “shown outstanding levels of devotion and commitment”. We can’t wait to see where her career takes her next!
Watch Wenwen’s beautiful routine to Idina Menzel’s ‘Into the Unknown’, from Frozen II.
Jack Jameson is amongst many incredible artists who have been awarded a Graduate Scholarship at Islington Mill. The programme is run by the University of Salford Art Collection in collaboration with Castlefield Gallery and provides a bespoke programme of professional development for graduating students. I spoke to Jack about his time at Salford – we wish you all the best for the future!
“I started Salford as a different person, lacking in confidence with little idea of what I wanted to do. All I knew was that a career in either media or performance intrigued me… Media and Performance seemed the most fitting course for my needs. Three years down the line and I am now certain and increasingly passionate about my future in this industry.
My time at Salford has truly made me flourish both professionally and personally. Arts and Media’s supportive staff and facilities offer a taste of creative freedom, developing your work to a point where you feel proud and confident in your own abilities.
I have been fortunate enough to be offered a place on the graduate scholarship programme. With Salford under my wing, the future excites me. I can continue to grow in my creative practice, with a lot of memories and achievements to look back on.” – Jack Jameson, Media and Performance, Graduating Class of 2020.
MA Dance graduate Jessica Hendrickson has created a powerful and beautiful piece in response to and in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement.
I spoke to Debbie Milner, Programme Leader MA Dance: Performance and Professional Practices, who told me:
“Jessica is an inspirational student who has been developing her practice to discover ‘Flow’ within freestyle improvisation. She has established her own company, JNH Choreography and has been expanding her audience base and professional networks using her Instagram platform. Her artistic response to the BLM movement resonated with students and staff alike and her powerful and profound dance film opened up vital conversation between artists across the globe. We look forward to championing Jess in the development of her performance activism as she works to develop new work synthesising solo dance and spoken word.”
Revisit Blog 6 to read more about our commitment to creating a more diverse and inclusive programme here at the New Adelphi Theatre, the University of Salford’s Black Lives Matter statement and for links to local organisations who offer support and resources.
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#MovementMondays @macklemore Choreographed by @jnhchoreography Dancers || @edgarnaglis @ms.pvalentina @jemma.mae @jess_nh_x Star . . This is my STAND Let us STAND TOGETHER to end racism No longer shall we be persecuted but rather let us show WHO we are and WHAT we have and can ACHIEVE ✊🏼✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿 . . #blacklivesmatter✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿 . . . . Thank you to all who participated in this project 🙏🏾 . . #STRICTLYPOSITIVE #LETGO#LETGOD #DANCE#DANCER#DANCING #CHOREOGRAPHING#CHOREOGRAPHER #CHOREOGRAPH#MOVING#MOVE#MOVEMENT#FLOW #SUPPORTARTISTS #JNHCHOREOGRAPHY . . (Own No Rights To The Music 🎶)
Morgan Kenning who studies Popular Music and Recording has had their second-year assignment for Music Journalism feature ‘The People’s Choice Music: How do we develop our tastes?’ published by Wilderness Record Store! Based in Withington, this record store and eatery is run by a team of self-confessed “vinyl junkies” who also platform a blog alongside their events. Morgan’s article is such an interesting read, and made me think “why am I listening to Lemon Jelly, Nice Weather for Ducks as I’m writing this blog? It’s pretty annoying, so why do I like it? How did I even discover this song?”
Whilst we’re on the subject of listening, let me introduce you to Rory A. Green: Second year Popular Music and Recording student who has released his Debut EP ‘isolation’. Rory draws inspiration from Jazz, Acoustic Folk music with a touch of Ambience – the perfect addition to my “Working from home – concentration/inspiration” playlist. Incredible guitarist. Just beautiful.
Third year Media and Performance student Connor Mower has won ‘Best Microfilm’ at the Berlin Flash Film Festival and ‘Best Film Under 5 Minutes’ at Flicks Film Festival, for his short horror-comedy film ‘Psychotherapy’. You can read the full story over on the University of Salford News Channel and watch the film below. Well done everyone, you killed it, it’s dead funny… See what I did there… Okay, I’ll leave the comedy to the professionals. Congratulations Connor!
Third year (and member of SalFUNNI 2018) Sian Carry was selected to be part of Leeds Young Film Festival with her short film “A Very Bad Day”. She is also Head of Production at Oxygen Films; you can stream their new anthology series ‘A Series of Light’ – which also stars graduating students Ole Madden and Nadhia Wardle-Porcelli – on Amazon Prime now! Amazing work Sian! *adds to watch list*
Clare Neylon, Programme Leader for MA Screen Acting recently interviewed Connor and Sian via video call, so keep your eyes peeled for an exclusive article about their joint venture coming to the New Adelphi Theatre news channel soon…
This is just a small handful of achievements by our students, which I will continue to share with you in August too. The response to the call-out for student success stories and was overwhelming – thank you to all of the staff who contributed to this celebratory blog. The talent and resilience of our emerging artists is incredible and we’re so proud of you.
Our Venue Team and the academic staff are gutted that we were unable to host your end of year festivals (and wrap party) in the usual way, at the New Adelphi Theatre! And everyone at the University is so disappointed that Graduation has had to be postponed until 2021.
This is not goodbye – join the alumni network, keep in touch with your lecturers and support staff and follow us on social media!
Join us in sending a heartfelt congratulations to our class of 2020!
Finally, my brilliant friend and Media and Performance Lecturer of four years, Naqqash Khalid, is leaving us to further continue his career in film and tv. I caught up with Frances Piper, Academic Director (Media City Directorate) who had this to say:
“Naqqash recently reminded me that we first met during his first week as an undergraduate student on the English Literature degree (some 8 or 9 years ago). There I was, happily lecturing away in our Introduction to Drama module, when I heard chattering from the back row. In the usual way, I said something like – ‘if you’ve got something fascinating to say, please do share it with us all’. The chatterer was Naqqash! And, of course, it has turned out that he has got MANY fascinating things to say! He has gone from strength to strength, first as a student, then as an embryonic film-maker, and in the past 3 years as an inspiring and innovative lecturer in fiction direction and production. Now he has been properly recognised (and financed, more to the point!) as a truly original voice in the world of independent film making. The BBC, the BFI and Sky have all seen Naqqash’s potential, and in so doing have tempted him away from his alma mater!! I am not surprise at all – I have always believed that Naqqash is a truly singular talent, and that it was only a matter of time before he was whisked away from us here at Salford. He will do us proud, out there in the world of film, and I also know that he will always stay in touch with us as he is not just a wonderful colleague, but also a wonderful friend.”
I couldn’t agree more. Naqqash, you will be missed!
I am so grateful to have met my brilliant friend Naqqash through working at Salford Uni.
It's been incredible to see the impact you've had on students starting out in their career. You will be missed immensely (especially by me) ❤️
— Ash Cox (@AshleeCox_) July 17, 2020
Scroll down to read blogs #1 to #6, latest news and Q&A’s.
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