There are key dates in the St Mary's student's calender that help to mark the passing of time and serve as a celebration for the University year gone. This Saturday was one such highlight, the Union's Summer Ball.
The rugby pitch is turned into a fairground, there is revelry, music making, toasts and tributes and those finalists lucky enough to have bagged tickets party hard until the early hours when a boat trip takes those who remain down the Thames in a bit of a stupor. It's a great student night.
Prior to the main event the Union host a dinner and the outgoing president inducts two members of the College community as honorary life members. I was really chuffed this year to be chosen by Siobhan and feel incredibly priviledge to be invited to join these ranks.
For all the beauty and convenience of the campus, for all the fascinating colleagues who I get to work alongside, it really is the students who make the place exciting and unique.
The community feel of the place isn't for everybody; students who want to keep their heads down or be a small cog in a big machine won't find their bliss with us, but those who are generous, hard working and have a good sense of humour seem to thrive at St Mary's. What the student body lack in urbane sophistication they more than make up for in openness, emotional intelligence and guileless curiosity. It's the least pretentious place I've ever worked.
After the dinner I headed to the Student Union for a quick drink and to watch some of the Drama students gig. Many of the first cohort of Malawi survivors were there back from Lilongwe now, swapping stories and showing off their sunburn. I stayed for an hour before slipping off home as the real merriment kicked in. .
Mark is the Academic Director of the Drama Programmes at St Mary's University in Twickenham. He has worked internationally as a theatre director and educator for the past 15 years, focused mostly on youth, community, and conflict resolution work.
As a lecturer Mark taught at Goldsmiths College, Coventry University and was Head of Performing Arts at Canterbury College prior to joining St Mary’s in 2006.
His Professional directing credits include Henry V (One of US?) and Valhalla for RSC Education; The Wind in the Willows, Jack Cade, The Red, Red Robin for Sevenoaks Playhouse; Tender Souls, The Quality of Mercy and Playhouse Creatures for the Ambassadors Theatre group.
Mark is a director of subVERSE Theatre company for whom has directed fringe premieres of Chief, Dinnertime and OxfamC**t at Theatre 503.
Site specific work includes Purka and Shadow on Icelandic volcanoes and Novocento with students from the University of Genoa.