Interview with QMU Acting for Stage and Screen Student, Harry Jackson
Harry Jackson, 21, from Blyth in Northumberland, is a final year BA (Hons) Acting for Stage and Screen student and a QMU Student Development Award winner.
Harry, who attended Bede Academy in Blyth, is Artistic Director for Amplify Time Productions, which was awarded £780 from the QMU Student Development Fund in 2017. This funding helped Harry’s theatre project get off the ground and allowed his company to support 30 students in a classical production in a major theatre venue in Edinburgh.
Amplify’s ethos is to provide students who are studying within creative industries with opportunities for personal development in a professional setting. This allows students to widen their personal skill sets, get company experience and have an opportunity to show what they can do and market themselves for future work outside of the University and into professional industry.
Why do you choose to study Acting for Stage and Screen at QMU?
“I chose to study at QMU for a few reasons. Firstly, the University and course comes with a great reputation for giving quality, intensive actor training which is realised practically through performances in assessment and end of year shows. Secondly, the course covers a great set of key areas and practitioners, and allows you as a creative to develop your practical and academic knowledge across the subject. Thirdly, you will be able to work with a variety of students across creative industries and the school of arts due to opportunities that arise in the University, which again is valuable for any drama student.
“QMU also boasts brilliant facilities and staff. Furthermore, the University is in Edinburgh, the location for the International Film Festival and Fringe Festival, which in your fourth year, you can take part in with a show developed during your course time.”
What has been your favourite part of the course?
“On an academic level, being able to develop many skills and my knowledge across the duration of the course. It has given me so much more to play with as a professional actor and director and I really cannot emphasise enough that this course is one which will change you as a performer and bring you up to be ready for professional industry.
“On a personal note, I’ve always been conscious of my voice and body as a performer and general speaker. I had a tendency in the past to not use my vocal qualities to their full potential which made pronouncing certain sounds difficult. Furthermore, I was at a place where I had gone through a lot of physical doubt regarding my core and character development in physicality and made me lose confidence as a performer. Marion Scott, John Dean and Robin Wilson are lecturing team like no other. They took time, in and out of class to help me with my issues as a performer and provided me with the knowledge and tools to begin to fix these problems. I feel like a better performer after my experiences here.”
What are your top tips for other students considering study Acting for Stage and Screen at QMU?
- Use every moment of your time at QMU. You can participate in some really good opportunities and work both in and out of university time. If you have ambitions, passions and even fresh ideas for a company or performance or workshop, the lecturers are always willing to hear you out and you will find a great deal of support here at this university!
- Make those connections. You will meet a lot of contacts from different areas of industry and these are like gold dust when you head to do your work as a professional after graduation! Even your fellow classmates may end up being people you want to work with in the future, you may meet a director or performer or other creative that you really click with and it will keep you going forward into amazing things!
- Enjoy it and relish in it! It’s something I think isn’t said enough in life! You are embarking on an amazing journey by joining the course at QMU. You will develop yourself to become a more skilled, knowledgeable and in tune performer. It is always going to be a challenge and raise the bar on what is expected of you. But, if you apply yourself with positivity and charisma, you will get so much out of your studies here! I certainly did!
“There are plenty of alumni, lecturers and older years of this course who are more than willing to sit down and give advice such as this, myself included!”
How has the QMU Student Development Fund benefitted you?
“I’m currently training to be an actor at QMU and have begun to research in depth within my classes about practitioners, texts, cultural history and current issues. The Amplify Project allows me to test these ideas and put them into practice both academically and as a director. The knowledge I have gained through the units of the course allow me to explore the processes of running a theatre company/project. However, the project itself allows me to practically realise this as it should be within an industry I will be going into after education.
“I have a passion for pushing the boundaries of theatre and the arts. I have always wanted to be able to do this individually and create something which is mine to benefit from and that also allows me to support students and graduates who are studying and are looking for a practical experience of what it will be like after education. This to me is one of the key reasons I began this project and one that I wish to keep at the heart of Amplify Time Production's ethos.”
How has the QMU Student Development Fund award benefitted QMU?
“During last year, we had 16 QMU actors in the company who worked on a production of Doctor Faustus, with three QMU students who are taking on crew roles within the company. Every member of the company is a student who is currently studying an area of the creative industries sector. These statistics show how much of a positive impact this is having within a university setting: for students to be able to apply what they have learned in a project that bridges education to industry.
“Furthermore, I’m the first person to create a production company of this type and scale at this level in the history of Acting for Stage and Screen and possibly the University. Whilst I’m humbled by this, I also think it's a matter to note, in which we can support students and create opportunities for them as well as allowing them to develop during the extra-curricular time.
"Finally, the project has longevity and next year, it will go into effect that we will extend our reach to 3rd and 4th Years. In addition, we will be performing in the Fringe 2018 and possibly performing in another city (money depending). The expansion that has been pursued and used for the benefit of QMU students is amazing and shows a great deal of promise for the future.
“I cannot put into words my gratitude and thanks to the alumni, friends and supporters of QMU whose donations have made this award possible. The support QMU has given students such as myself and all those in Amplify Time Productions opportunities to shine and show the skill and talent in their individual rights.”
How has the QMU Student Development Fund award helped Amplify benefit the community?
“Amplify is bringing arts into Scotland and supporting students. By producing shows open to the public, we are contributing to the culture of Edinburgh and showing friends, family, professionals and other creative’s what we have achieved, alongside an amazing show experience which can be enjoyed by all.
“Moreover, the set that we have built and the themes and analysis of the play has been looked at by City of Glasgow College; where some of our current QMU students trained before this. In order to support the young actors in training, we encouraged and helped them to produce their own shows for assessment, using Doctor Faustus as a stimulus and performance text.
“Amplify’s involvement with the community is reflected in the company’s personal fundraising, hosting comedy and open mic events for the community as well as our involvement of Social Media.”
Robin Wilson, Lecturer in Acting & Performance at QMU, said: “As a final year student on our Acting for Stage and Screen Programme, Harry is impressive. His boundless curiosity is only matched by his boundless energy. He is an organiser, an enthusiast and a leader. His natural charm enables him to galvanise his classmates and to focus them on ‘getting things done’. In his class work, he has a perfect record of attendance and time keeping. He is a pleasure to teach and a fully engaged creative asset to the course. He is also the student class rep.
“For the first time on the Acting for Stage & Screen programme, a student has taken on the task of mounting a fully-fledged theatrical performance out-with the course. Harry is at the creative dynamic centre; organising all aspects of ‘Faustus’ – from the venue hire to the technical requirements, costume, rehearsal schedule, to the marketing and publicity. Without Harry’s vision and expectation of success, this project would never have been initiated.
“The fact that he has managed to gain the commitment, trust and enthusiasm of a large number of his fellow students is a tribute to his positive attitude and skills of leadership and communication. Everyone involved is putting in a large amount of effort beyond the heavy demands of the course.
“I’m very sure that everyone participating in the Amplify project will learn a tremendous amount of transferable skills. It is to be commended that Harry and his colleagues have had the initiative and stamina to undertake and sustain this project. I’m certain it will prove an asset to QMU and further enhance the reputation of the University for the High Quality of its work.”
Harry’s company is now based within the Business Innovation Zone at QMU, where he benefits from access to small business start-up support and guidance from the campus-based Business Gateway, as well as QMU’s rehearsal facilities.
Harry Jackson's film interview on the QMU YouTube channel
Amplify Time Productions
Amplify Time Productions' Facebook page
QMU Student Development Fund
For more information about the QMU Student Development Fund and how to apply, Email: email@example.com
Business Innovation Zone
Find more information on the Business Innovation Zone at QMU.
‘Step Up with QMU' – personal development & work experience opportunities
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