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Zoe Murtagh

BA Performance

Performance Student Zoe MurtaghWhere are you from?

Nottingham

Why did you choose Northumbria University, Newcastle?

I chose Northumbria because Newcastle is a vibrant and cultural city with a busy arts scene. The 'Performing Arts Department' is persistently gaining positive acclaim and the studio spaces are perfect for creating and performing new work.

What do you think of Newcastle and our region and what are your favourite things to do?

I really enjoy living in Newcastle because there is always so much happening. Newcastle also has it's fair share of quirky cafe's, cocktail bars and live music and theatre venues as well as it's infamous night-life. I like to spend Sundays by the Quayside, visiting the Baltic or Tyneside Cinema. I also like to visit Tynemouth beach which is a short ride away from the city centre on the Metro.

What has surprised you most about living in Newcastle and this region? What has impressed you most?

I was surprised by how friendly the people are. I did a lot of volunteer work in my first and second year and lots of organisations in Newcastle are happy to help young professionals succeed in University and afterwards.

Did you find Northumbria University welcoming?  Was it easy to fit in?

When I initially auditioned for the Performance course at Northumbria, I remember thinking how welcoming the staff and current students were and that put me at ease immediately. The Performing Arts Department also organised a 'social' straight away, so we could meet with current students and lecturers in an informal setting, learn about the course and meet new people.

What have you enjoyed most about coming to Northumbria University?

The best thing about coming to Northumbria for me was the people I have met. Out of this degree I have met future collaborators, wonderful artists, supportive tutors and independent organisations, and some of my best friends.

Who has helped you most since you came to Northumbria?

The Performing Arts Staff have been continually supportive of my career as a performer, and have pushed me into areas of further artistic development. Helping me find volunteer work with companies, and the department's collaboration with one of the biggest theatres in the region 'Northern Stage' has resulted in me gaining a job within the industry.

Who has inspired you most at Northumbria University?

The fact that the tutors at the university are all active academics and performers is a big inspiration. You are learning from people who have valuable industry experience and that in itself is inspirational. I am also inspired by my fellow students, who are an eclectic bunch. The University also has guest lecturers who are industry professionals, when they come in to talk to us, it is always very inspirational.

What is your favourite place on campus?

My favourite place on campus is Domain inside the SU. This is because I love going to see live music, and it is also a venue for some of the biggest touring Vintage Fairs. Reds Bar is also a fun place for a cheeky drink after an assessment.

Have you joined any sports teams, clubs or been involved in any volunteer projects?  Tells us about the highlights?

I volunteered at Gateshead International Festival of Theatre (GIFT) last year where I was constantly surrounded by and working with talented creatives from all over the world. This year I was asked to perform at the festival, so that's a good example of how volunteer work can further your career.

What is the best thing about your course?

The best thing about the Performance course is being given the freedom to create and perform new and original work to fellow students and the public. Whether you want to go on to be an actor, theatre maker, performance artist, producer, director, stage manager etc - the course offers support and valuable skills which are transferable to your area of interest.

What do you want to do in the future?  What skills have you learned/improved that you think will be of most use in your future career?

In the future I would like to apply for Arts Council England funding to create and tour my own professional performance work. I would also like to continue my arts work within the community. Communication skills are essential for the Arts industry. I have also learned directing, stage managing and technical skills alongside how to create professional CV's and websites.

Have you worked on any projects with businesses or been on a placement?  What were your most memorable experiences?

I worked with Unfolding Theatre on their project which was commissioned as part of 'Festival of The North East' entitled 'It's Playtime!' Touring the region to bring performance work to the wider region was a memorable experience.

Have you taken up any opportunities to travel with your current course/undertake field trips?  If so, please tell us about them.

I was selected as one of 7 students who were asked to perform at Dionysus Theatre Festival in Croatia. This was a week long trip partially funded by the University and was a great life experience. People from all over the world were invited to perform at the festival so at nights we watched shows and in the day were invited to take part in Master Class workshops. Since then we have stayed in touch with people we met from Romania, Austria and Turkey.

If you could offer some advice to students thinking of coming to study here what would you say?

To be open to trying new things and to create your own opportunities. The University is great for pointing you in the direction of volunteer work and experiences but it is up to the individual to maximise these opportunities and really make the most out of them.The networking opportunities these experiences offer are essential in gaining future work.

How do you feel you have changed as a person since being at Northumbria University, Newcastle (e.g. confidence)?

I have become a lot more sure about the sort of work I would like to produce and the type of future I would like to build for myself.

If you had 3 words to sum up your time with us what would they be?

Busy, Exciting, Fulfilling.

Would you recommend Northumbria University to a friend?

Yes.


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