There's been a plethora of student led work springing up - which is great to see. Rowan, Danny and Sam reprised their Pinter shorts over lunch to a Studio 1 crowd of 78 and although they didn't quite recapture the stillness and composure of their weekend performance it was clear that they'd worked the text hard enough in rehearsals to bring in another very good show. It's perfect lunchtime work, half an hour long, simple, minimal technology, well played and coherent.
This evening I went to see the first half of Ben Elton's Popcorn which had been hatched by another group of 2nd years over the summer. They'd worked hard and sold out for three nights in studio 3. The downside was that the overall running time of two and a half hours meant that the work felt slightly unrehearsed and off the pace - still some good work in places, especially from Kadeem as unhinged mall murderer Wayne Hudson. It's very encouraging to see some independent ambition beginning to surface in the department. Getting a show up is hard work and now it's been done once hopefully the quality of performance will improve.
For the first time there's also genuine hope that a newly formed Drama Society might support students get into the habit of putting on work beyond the curriculum. Presidents John Rogers and Sam Hampson have put a lot of thought into writing a workable constitution and they've been smart in negotiations with the department to find a complementary role for the society within Drama St Marys. I'm a big advocate of this kind of be brave and have a go approach - you learn so much by having a crack. The society will also, I'm sure, have a terrific broadening knock on effect academically as it's hard not to read a play closely if you're either performing in it or deciding whether to direct it. There's a buzz about the place just now.