Samuel and Maisarra
Third year Applied Theatre students Samuel Speed and Maisarra Margubul report back on the work experience placement they completed with Faust International – a youth theatre company based in Hong Kong – in spring 2018.
Where did you complete your work placement?
We completed our six-week placement in April 2018 with Faust International Ltd. which is a youth theatre company based in Hong Kong. The company also provides workshops for primary and secondary schools all around Hong Kong.
How did you secure your placement?
We liaised with a former employee of Faust, Naomi Wood, who is now a drama practitioner in Birmingham. Through her we found out about the company which then put us in contact with Keon Woong Lee - the General Manager of Faust. Getting organised early was a vital part of securing our placement overseas.
What kind of things did you get involved with on your placement?
Over the course of six weeks we were able to shadow each PC, which allowed us to observe different styles and methods of theatre practice. The PC’s were immediately impressed by our commitment and professionalism, which is why we were given the opportunity to independently run workshops and direct performances with the young people. Faust also encouraged us to attend various drama training workshops to improve our skill set.
Has your placement helped you with your course?
Maisarra: Hong Kong was a very eye-opening experience in general, I feel that my practice has improved significantly. I was able to use the skills I’ve learnt in university in a real working environment, which encouraged me to take risks and have confidence in myself and my practice. Working with a wide age range really threw me in the deep end, which was terrifying at first, but now looking back it was the best way for me to progress, and I surprised myself with what I could do.
Samuel: Throughout my time on placement I gained a considerable amount of facilitation and assistant experience, primarily in the early year’s youth group, which ranged from the ages of three to five. I thought that with toddlers what I would be doing would be simply just playing around. But from my first workshop I became aware that the words ‘playing around’ is what drama is all about, and this can be communicated with any age group of any youth theatre.
Do you now have a better idea of what you’d like to do after your degree?
Maisarra: As much as I love scripted work and straight forward directing, the placement with Faust made me realise that I really appreciate having the freedom you get with devising and creating your own story to tell. I’m not entirely sure what I would like to do yet, but having creative freedom is something I see as a vital part of my career.
Samuel: Since developing a passion to work in toddler and early years youth theatre, I was delighted to be invited to interview for a job with Faust International, and I've been successful! I start my new role in Hong Kong on a two year contract in July 2019.
What advice do you have for other students thinking about their placement?
Be bold about the choices you make and how you want your placement to suit you. Start looking early, especially if you’re looking to go abroad. Always be aware that some aspects of a placement may be challenging, which is a great learning curve and definitely something that opens your eyes to a clearer awareness of what you want to pursue next. If you haven't got an idea of what you want your placement to be then don’t stress! Ask questions, research, use your tutors and ask other students. They have lots of contacts, some which may surprise you.
Did you make any good industry links that could help with your career?
Samuel: Yes, having developed some really positive connections during my placement I'm excited to head back out to Hong Kong in July 2019 to work with Faust International for a two year contract, where I can continue to develop my practice within youth theatre. From making these international links and gaining experience I have also continued my teaching experience back in the UK, working with The Star Project which is a Musical Theatre in Bromsgrove. There I am completing a 6-week Musical Theatre Apprenticeship.
Maisarra: Yes, I continue to stay in touch with people at Faust and regularly update them on what I am doing currently in my practice/career. I also keep up with the productions that Faust is creating, which allows me to stay connected with the company.