Student run theatre steals the show

12 May 2011 14:23:02.280

PA 157/11

The country’s first student-run theatre company has won critical acclaim after dominating proceedings at the National Student Drama Festival (NSDF) 2011.

Students from The University of Nottingham’s New Theatre were delighted to have been selected ahead of over 100 productions, to put on four out of the 13 plays performed at this year’s event in Scarborough.

The talent on display in the Students’ Union theatre was further illustrated as members picked up several awards during the week-long festival, which has been celebrating creative talent in student theatre since 1956.

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Gus Miller and Phil Geller (After the End) won the ‘Outstanding Production Design’ award, while Douggie McMeekin (Orphans), Megan Salter and Lucy Bromilow (both This Wide Night) picked up three of the four prizes in the ‘Judges’ Awards for Acting’ category.

Nottingham Alumnus, Elizabeth Bourne, who is now studying at the University of Edinburgh also picked up the ‘Spotlight Award for Most Promising Actress’ for her role in Amadeus.

As well as performing four plays (Orphans, This Wide Night, After the End and Bluebird), the 40-strong team also took time to enjoy some of the 60 performances and 180 workshops which took place during the week.

After the successful trip, New Theatre president Becky Catlin said: “To have even one show selected out of the 13 chosen nationwide is an outstanding achievement and an accolade to the exceptional work currently being carried out at the New Theatre.

“Everyone who gets involved does so out of a real passion for theatre. I am delighted that the National Student Drama Festival gives them such a wonderful opportunity to meet industry professionals and be acknowledged for the wonderful work that they put on.”

The New Theatre will now put on another three productions during this semester, before taking two shows to the Edinburgh Fringe. Members of the theatre are also considering ways in which they can open up their productions to a wider audience in the future.

Becky explained: “Recognition from the NSDF will give us a more professional image especially as we look to embed ourselves within the little group of theatres that are so well respected in Nottingham. With a more professional image hopefully we will get a lot more of the public coming in.”

Award winner Douggie McMeekin added: “It is obviously nice to receive a personal award, but the thing I love most about the New Theatre is the team effort that is required in order to be successful. At the NSDF we worked as one team, everyone did there bit to contribute to the success we had.

“The festival was such an inspirational week. A lot of us that went up there are now thinking seriously about a career in the theatre industry after experiencing the fantastic and diverse range of plays and workshops that were put on.”

The New Theatre’s participation at the festival was aided by a £4,000 grant from The University of Nottingham’s Annual Fund. The fund, which uses donations received principally from alumni, supports projects that directly enhance the student experience, or which add to the University’s student outreach or community activities.

The grant application received strong backing from Students’ Union President Will Vickers, who explained: “The achievement of a total of four shows being selected from one theatre for NSDF sets a national precedent. It is quite impossible to describe the scale of this achievement.”

For more about the National Student Drama Festival, please visit  

Information about the New Theatre can also be found at:  

Critics’ quotes included:
- Orphans — “The true ruling tone of the festival was set by Nottingham University’s revival of Orphans.”
The Sunday Times

- Bluebird — “As a pure piece of story-telling it is unparalleled, and the performances from the entire ensemble will tug at your heart strings, leave you with a tear in your eye and, in a bizarre juxtaposition, your heart lifted.”
Noises Off

- This Wide Night — “Salter and Bromilow have the measure of their characters and they play off each other superbly. Their reactions are exact, their emotions believable, their despair is heartbreaking.”
The Stage

- After the End — “This production was crafted with great detail, precision and acute awareness of pace, but at the same time portrayed moments of immense emotional drama.”
Noises Off

— Ends — 

Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham, described by The Sunday Times University Guide 2011 as ‘the embodiment of the modern international university’, has award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings. It was named ‘Europe’s greenest university’ in the UI GreenMetric World University Ranking, a league table of the world’s most environmentally-friendly higher education institutions, which ranked Nottingham second in the world overall.

The University is committed to providing a truly international education for its 40,000 students, producing world-leading research and benefiting the communities around its campuses in the UK and Asia.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranked the University 7th in the UK by research power.

The University’s vision is to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health.

More news from the University at:

Story credits

For more information please contact Becky Catlin, New Theatre President, The University of Nottingham at
Harry Waddle

Harry Waddle - Students Communications Officer

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 823 2353 Location: University Park

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University of Nottingham students steal the show

Published Date
Tuesday 19th March 2013

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