Eve Nicol: 'I got experience through being part of the drama society in all the really important, practical things'
- Deborah Chu
- 5 September 2019
Two rising stars of Scottish theatre tell us how students with an interest in the performing arts can make the most out of their uni years
Whether you're an aspiring performer, playwright or director, studying theatre in Scotland can provide rich opportunities for developing your craft and building your network. Having studied theatre-making in Glasgow and Edinburgh, respectively, we speak to ascendant playwrights Eve Nicol and Diane Stewart about their own uni experiences and the routes students with an interest in theatre can explore.
For Nicol, who received her MLitt in Playwriting and Dramaturgy from the University of Glasgow, the support offered through the university was vital to helping stage her work. 'That was the year I started seriously making my own work independently, because I had access to space through the university,' she said. 'You get lots of free rehearsal rooms, which you don't have at other times.' Moreover, the university offered funding for student projects, which Nicol used to stage a show at Glasgow's Tron Theatre. Stewart had a similar experience in Edinburgh while studying for her BA in Drama and Performance at Queen Margaret University. She reels off a list of venues that host student productions, from established theatres like Bedlam, to the basement of Haymarket's Mad Hatter's Bar. But for Stewart, it was QMU's annual performance festival in the Caves that was particularly formative: 'When I was at uni, I took part in that every year,' she says.
Outside of academia, however, both Stewart and Nicol sing the praises of the drama societies they were involved in. Stewart, who was vice-president of the drama society at QMU, highlighted the creative experimentation that took place in the company of her fellow students. 'It was a very supportive community for sharing ideas and thoughts,' she says. 'There's some work I made that I wouldn't make now, but I'm so glad I did it then, because it gave me the opportunity to try and test it and go, "oh, that's not for me". Or "actually, I never thought about doing that … "'