We all hear about Varsity and the AU going to cross-university competitions and such all year long, but what about societies? Last week, Bangor English Dramatics Society (BEDS), together with Keele University’s Drama Society, organized a full day event in John Phillips Hall, hosting workshops and an evening showcase.
“The Keele-Bangor collaboration was the first of its kind, and we were unsure what would happen,” said Briony Collins, BEDS’s Writer’s Group Coordinator. “We were met with nothing but confident and generous people who led us through some fantastic workshops and an exciting showcase.” The workshops were run by different people and focused on topics such as improvisation, social change and physical theatre. Whilst the improvisation workshop served to make everybody more comfortable and made for some impressive improv moments, the social change one sought to inspire debate about issues such as the rapid development of technology, and had the participants split into groups where they developed short dramatic moments based on given scenarios. The physical theatre workshop featured chair duets; a way of telling a story through movements between two people sitting in chairs.
The event ended with a showcase; several scenes from BEDS productions such as “Suddenly Last Summer”, “Under Milk Wood” and “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead” were performed, alongside dramatic monologues and poetry readings from Keele University students.
One of the highlights was a dramatic reading of vines; two students sitting down on opposite sides of the stage, reading several vines in a dramatic tone.
The event was well-received; a survey done by committees and directors of both societies revealed a 100% majority for a similar event, likely to be held at Keele University. Some other highlights were the opportunities to network and meet new people, the workshops, the warm-up, and “going to the pub and hanging with the Bangor lot”.
Overall, it meant a new thing for everyone; such cross-university events are rare but warmly welcomed. In organizing the event together, both societies have strengthened not just their ties, but also the opportunity for students to do drama in a different environment. Sian Billington, main organizer of the event and BEDS President, said it was an excellent networking opportunity, which could result in some amazing projects and opportunities for the future. We can only wait and see, and wish both BEDS and Keele Drama Society good luck.