Published: 5th November 2020
Who would have thought that I’d be entering my final year of Drama school, during a global pandemic? This is the year of dissertations, making decisions and enjoying the last year of University before stepping out into the real world. However this year, there is also the big issue of a Pandemic, wearing a mask 24/7 and having Zoom lectures whilst still in your pyjamas.
Despite successfully completing an online Community project with a village in South Africa as part of my second year, the thought of spending the whole of third year online did not sit well. The thing is with a drama degree, it can’t really be done online. We need the space to rehearse, practice, devise, and debate, and a laptop really limits this. However, I am currently on a placement with Icon Theatre and at the moment it is IN PERSON (I am not taking this for granted, as many of my friends are facing a placement on Zoom). We are having COVID safe workshops, with young people, creating new projects and having fun. Despite this, there is the internal countdown within all of us knowing that some point soon we could all be faced with another lockdown, and be back working in our bedroom, and waiting for that evening’s Zoom quiz with friends who are all drinking on their own. The novelty of working from home, has definitely worn off now.
As well as being on placement, I am spending my time beginning my Dissertation. Even the word Dissertation scares me a little, the thought of writing 10,000 words about a subject of my choice whilst not being at University, is scary. However, one thing this pandemic has taught all of us, is how to work autonomously. We are not sitting next to people in seminars having a little chat, we are on Zoom where the Lecturer can see everything that we do, so we have to work individually (unless we go into the dreaded break out room). There is nothing more awkward than waiting for that Break Out room logo to pop up, to find yourself in a ‘room’ with three people, one who is half way across the world, one who’s camera ‘isn’t working’ and then the silent one. In fact, Break Out rooms, make you want to work on your own. Anyway, the process of the dissertation has begun, and the reading commences! (But don’t get me started on not having access to the physical library, as we aren’t allowed there because of COVID)
All is not lost though, as this pandemic is teaching us a lot. This super busy, work controlled lives that we all had before March, is now a distant memory. We do not need to be that busy, it is proven that the way society has been, isn’t working, and is damaging our lives, and the world. Through lockdown, we got to watch pollution across the world drop, as flights were cancelled, as factories were shut down. It was a breath of fresh air, quite literally. We have had to adapt, and find new ways of working. (Or not working, if you are in the Arts as the government have left us hanging, but that is another story and I don’t want to get too political)
The Arts are facing a huge change, theatre doors are being closed, and museums being shut, the Arts have had to move online. This has caused problems for many people, theatre companies haven’t been created, work hasn’t been produced, and Youth Theatre’s all over the world have had to close their doors, as it hasn’t been safe enough to play a game of Splat. However, it has also opened many doors for people, as they have had to create new work that gives audience’s the same experience as they would get if seeing it in person. It has created a new virtual art world that didn’t exist before, and to me that is exciting. The Arts always change in response to historical events, and this time I actually get to live through one of them. I am not saying that I am happy that COVID-19 exists, it has been devastating to the whole world, and every family but things have changed for the better because of it.
So, I am excited for a post- COVID world where we can hug and work with people again, without being at a 2 metre distance. The virus won’t exist like this forever, and I am learning so much about the world, society and myself during this time. My degree is just part of my life, and as fun as it is, I am super excited to find out what I will do next.
3rd Year student at RCSSD.
Based in Kent