MA Children’s Digital Media Production student, Sinead Lynch, has already landed herself a job at the BBC and she hasn’t even graduated yet. The ambitious media student started her role as the Production Management Assistant on the CBBC’s Newsround and Match of the Day Kickabout earlier this year and has taken some time out of her extremely busy schedule to give us the low down on her new job and her plans for the future.
What are some of the day-to-day responsibilities of your new role?
I’m responsible for managing the kit and equipment, organising transport and accommodation for shoots, drawing up call sheets, arranging training for staff, looking after new starters, plus recently I’ve been helping to organise some international shoots. I mostly work in the production office, but occasionally I help out with the autocue in the studio, and have gone along on school visits to speak to children about what they think of Newsround.
How did you land this amazing job at the BBC?
I did a work placement for a brilliant children’s sketch show called DNN and was invited back to do some runner work thereafter. I met with the CBBC talent manager to discuss future opportunities and the following week, the role in Newsround came up. It was a combination of good timing, the right contacts, and (most importantly!) a good recommendation from my work placement. I worked really hard throughout my postgraduate course, taking on every opportunity for work experience and training, so I’m really glad that it’s all paid off. I also feel very lucky that the chance to work on such a big show came up at the exact time I needed it!
How did your experience at University of Salford help you make this first crucial step in your career?
If I hadn’t done the MA Children’s Digital Media Production course at the University of Salford, I definitely wouldn’t be in this job now. Being so close to the BBC and studying such a specific subject have both been vital to securing this position. During the course, we got to work with departments like the Writersroom and BBC Learning, so I had the opportunity to gain loads of contacts and industry experience before I’d even stepped into the ‘real world’.
And finally, what’s next?
I’m not sure what my ultimate goal is yet… In 2014, I’m starting a new job where I’ll be going into schools and running feedback sessions with the Cbeebies and CBBC audiences, which I’m really excited about. I’d also love to someday work in development, coming up with new formats and ideas for shows. I really have no idea what job I’ll be doing ten years from now, but I’m pretty sure it will still be in children’s digital production!
Nearly a year since their Roadshow debut of The Very, Very, Very Sleepy Princess, our BA (Hons) Performance students of the Scallywags Children’s Theatre Company are set to take on Neil Gaiman’s award winning horror fantasy, Coraline. Featuring elements of shadow puppetry and black-light theatre, the Scallywags’ latest production can best be described as a visual spectacle that will engage both children and adult audiences alike. Slightly different and somewhat darker to the style of their Roadshow performance, Coraline follows the twisted adventures of a young girl who is bored sick of her new home and her workaholic parents until she stumbles upon a magical door that leads her to her perfect life.
Commenting on their new show, final year Drama student and Scallywags cast member, Molly Eborall said: “Since our last performance was written with a primary school audience in mind, we wanted to challenge ourselves this time by creating a production that had a bit more depth and was geared toward an older audience. We chose Coraline because not only did we all love the story, but the plot line also enabled us to explore different styles of theatre.”
Salford drama students have been taking their annual Christmas Roadshow on tour to primary schools in and around Manchester for more than three decades, and this year’s adaptation of Carlo Collodi’s Pinnochio promises to be one of the best performances yet.
With a storybook inspired set and a spectacularly life-size whale, this interactive pantomime invites boys and girls of all ages to step inside the well known fairy tale of a wooden puppet who dreams of becoming a real boy. As Pinnochio struggles to learn the differences between what is right and wrong, audience members are introduced to a number of quirky characters including a mischievous pair called Fox and Cat, a disgruntled Italian puppet master and a magical Blue Fairy, to name just a few.
Commenting on the professional caliber of the show, Director and Drama tutor, Roland Metcalf said: “Working with this year’s cast has been an absolute pleasure. All ten students have demonstrated an incredible level of dedication and professionalism that exceeds their years. Between the eclectic cast, the inventive staging and the impressive wardrobe we’ve got planned, the Roadshow should prove to be a real treat for all our primary school audiences.”
In addition to providing primary school children with an unforgettable holiday performance, the Christmas Roadshow also presents an invaluable opportunity for Drama and Theatre students to gain professional experience which can lead on to future work. Last year’s Roadshow cast even went on to perform their Salford rendition of Sleeping Beauty at the world renown Edinburgh Fringe Festival and have continued to work together as the Scallywags Children’s Theatre Company ever since.
Similar to last year’s cast, this year’s group of second year students have been involved in every aspect of the production from set and wardrobe design right down to adapting and writing the script. Luke Yale, who is playing the part of Jiminey Cricket and lead of set design, said: “It’s been an exhilarating process from the very start and a little stressful at times, but I’ve genuinely enjoyed every second of it. This production has opened my eyes to children theatre and different forms of play.”
Before the cast and crew hit the road for their primary school tour, the Christmas Roadshow will be premiering on Saturday 7th December at 2:30pm in The Robert Powell Theatre and again on Wednesday 11th December at 7pm. Tickets are only £3 and are available online or at the door.
MA Animation student, Ina Nikolova, has landed back on Salford soil after a recent jaunt to one of the most important short film festivals in Europe, where she took part in their first ever Script Pitch competition. Ina presented her script proposal for Run to the INTERFILM International Short Film Competition and was awarded the Best Pitch prize after wowing the expert jury in just three minutes, winning the incredible €1,000 prize!
Competing alongside nine other shortlisted candidates, whittled down from hundreds of entrants, Ina presented to a whole host of high caliber experts including Rumanian scriptwriter and author Răzvan Rădulescu, winner of the Berlinale’s Golden Bear in 2013 for Best Screenplay, plus Spanish scriptwriter, producer, filmmaker and tutor Sergio Barrejón. Speaking of her staggering experience, Ina says: “Berlin is a city with a magical atmosphere, and the INTERFILM festival is one of the best I have attended. Volksbühne (or ‘The Theatre of the People’) where the Festival was hosted, is based in Eastern Berlin which is a post-communist territory, reminding me a lot of my hometown city Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. Emotions were strong, films were great, people I met – grand!”
Kate Corbin, Programme Leader for Animation here at Salford, commented: “Ina’s achievement highlight the inter-disciplinary nature of our MA Programmes, offering a fantastic opportunity for animation students to develop script writing skills under the specialist supervision of tutors”.
Following this astonishing success, Ina now has plans to develop her script further by pitching to co-producers all around the world. Good luck Ina!
BA (Hons) Photography graduate Sophie Taylor-Wood has had quite an epic year. Since graduating with a first class honours degree in July, Sophie has had her work featured in New York and Long Island and next month, she will be rounding out 2013 with a final international showing in Miami. The last few months for Sophie have been so unbelievable that only a guest feature written directly from her, would do her story justice.
“A couple of years ago, I signed up to Artists Wanted (now called See.me), which is a website that houses creative talent from all over the world. Nothing came from it initially until May this year when I came home from work late one night to find an invitation to be featured in The Story of the Creative, an exhibition in New York City. Waiting for the follow up email seemed like a lifetime, but within a week, I received confirmation that I was officially part of the show.”
“The initial exhibition opened in July and continued through September before moving to the See.me Gallery in Long Island in October. I received numerous invitations for the New York City opening event but unfortunately couldn’t make it, which was bittersweet to say the least. However, when I heard the exhibition was touring to Long Island, I knew I had to go. With one week left before the event, I got the money together and booked my flights to New York.”
“As if it couldn’t get any better, one of my images was featured on the See.me website the night before my flight and almost instantly, notifications started flooding in with supports from artists all over the world. Reading all of the messages just before setting off for New York was incredible. People were talking about me and about my work, even wishing me luck. It was surreal.”
“I could never have imagined that within a few short months of graduating from Salford, I’d be getting so much positive feedback about my work, not to mention two opportunities to exhibit in New York! It’s difficult to explain how I actually felt on the night of the Long Island opening. I was in New York, surrounded by masses of creative talent, looking up at my own image being projected onto a huge building with the beautiful New York City skyline in the backdrop. It’s a moment that I will never forget.”
Due to the incredible response that Sophie gained from her first two international shows, she’s now secured a spot in the SCOPE Miami show in December. It would appear there’s a lot more on the horizon for Sophie’s blossoming career so if you want to find out more about her and her work, check out her website here.
First year BA (Hons) Journalism: Multimedia student Charlotte Davies contributed to an in-depth panel discussion yesterday at Manchester’s Palace Hotel as part of a brand new genre-based literary festival, Louder than Words. While sitting on a discussion panel alongside the likes of accomplished DJ Shell Zenner and seasoned music journalist Tony Fletcher would pose as a fairly daunting task for most, Charlotte stood her own amongst the Manchester music legends making some key points about where music journalism is headed over the next few years.
Commenting on her experience, Charlotte said: “I was very excited about speaking on the panel because it’s something I’ve never done before. Compared to most of the other panellists, I’ve only been in the industry for about five minutes which makes it that much more of a privilege to have been included.”
In spite of Charlotte’s discernible modesty, the creative young wordsmith actually had quite a lot to add to the conversation as a long time music enthusiast and founder and Editor-in-chief of online music magazine Hooting and Howling. What started out initially as a GCSE project in 2010, Hooting and Howling has quickly evolved into a fully-fledged music news site that is best known for featuring new music, supporting underground bands and providing a platform for up and coming journalists to write about the music they love.
Speaking on the success of her online magazine, Charlotte explained: “I set up Hooting And Howling three years ago with the intention of giving younger writers a chance to show off their talent and their love for new music. The website’s grown increasingly popular since then and it’s great to know that we’ve been able to support so many amazing new bands for such a long amount of time.”
In addition to detailing her experience in online music journalism, Charlotte also opened up about how her Journalism course has improved her writing skills and broadened her capabilities as a journalist. Charlotte said: “Prior to coming to University, all of my writing was predominantly about music so I’ve really enjoyed writing about different topics that interest me. I’ve also been able to gain training in areas that I’ve not had a chance to experience before, like radio journalism, which is something I’ve always wanted to try.”
With so much already accomplished in her first semester at Salford, it wouldn’t be very surprising if Charlotte Davies made it onto our blog a few more times over the next couple years.
Emerging artist and Interior Design graduate, Alina Stanciu has recently designed a custom installation piece for one of the most sought after Friday night hot spots in Manchester. While Kosmonaut has hosted a number of art exhibitions since opening last year, Alina’s Parables and Parabolas is the first ever installation piece to make its way into the popular Northern Quarter hangout.
Revolving around a cosmic motif, Alina’s piece consists of an intricately, interwoven arrangement of black cords that stretches from the bar area to the opposite side of the room in a schematic representation of the Orion Constellation. Detailing the inspiration behind her work, Alina said: “Every time someone comes in the bar, a story is created. Whether it is a man on his own taking time to unwind, a couple of two falling in love, two strangers meeting for the first time, or a group of close friends sharing their stories. Like a dreamcatcher above a bed, the installation symbolically catches stories from above the bar booths.”
Kosmonaut’s events coordinator and resident DJ, Paul Allen, said Alina knew exactly what she wanted to do as soon as she walked through their doors. Recalling his meeting with her, Paul said: “She saw the space, described her vision and then we gave her the go ahead to drill around 80 holes in the walls, all in the name of art.”
Paul added: “I think Alina’s work will stand out from other bar exhibitions because it’s an installation piece rather than framed images, which has been done many times before. We are hoping people will enjoy the dramatic change to the bar and that her piece will serve as an interesting talking point amongst our customers.”
If you want to check out Parables and Parabolas for yourself, Alina’s work will be on show at Kosmonaut all throughout November.
As if her experience at Quays TV News wasn’t enough of a CV booster, third year BA (Hons) Journalism: Broadcast student Emily Burgin now has the honour of adding O2 North West Media Award’s winner to her ever increasing list of university achievements. Last week, the promising young journalist took home the esteemed Emerging Talent Award from the regional journalism Oscars, outshining runners up from University of Bolton, Blackburn University and Cronton Sixth Form College.
Emily’s tutor Sarah Jones was absolutely beaming as she watched Emily collect her award in front of a full house of accomplished media professionals. Reflecting back on the night, the Journalism Programme Leader said: “Emily is an incredible student who has shown such commitment and dedication to her studies, as well as her role as editor and producer of Quays TV News. It is fantastic that Emily has been successful in a category that attracted so many excellent entries. The fact that she has been recognised as the Emerging Talent of the North West demonstrates her diverse talent as a journalist and the promising future that lies ahead of her.”
In addition to Emily’s success, MA Journalism alumni, Vickie Scullard, was also highly commended as a nominee in the Feature Writer of Year category for her work at Bolton News.
Commenting on what an overall exceptional year it has been for North West media, Head of Communications and Reputation at O2, Nicola Green, said: “The media talent that’s in the North West is undeniable. Every year the judging panel finds it harder and harder to select an overall winner for each category. O2 is delighted to recognise that talent through these awards.”
Huge congratulations to Emily and the rest of this year’s O2 North West Media Award winners! For a look at some of Emily’s latest work, check out her showreel here.
Miley Cyrus isn’t the only pretty young thing featured in the latest December edition of Cosmo magazine. As one of the six remaining finalists of the Design Cosmo’s Cover competition, third year BA (Hons) Graphic Design student Abygail Bradley has made her way into the best-selling women’s magazine for fashion, dating tips and celebrity news.
Earlier this year, the Cosmopolitan team decided to hand over the reins to the public for the first time in its 41-year history by offering readers the chance to design the front cover of their January 2014 issue. The competition was created in conjunction with Vauxhall ADAM as part of their sponsorship of Cosmo’s Ultimate Women of the Year Awards 2013.
Abygail’s distinctive lipstick design was one of hundreds of applications that were submitted but despite the volume of entries, Abygail’s submission earned her a spot on the shortlist and an invitation to pitch her cover to Cosmo’s Editor-in-Chief Louise Court, Cosmo’s Creative Director Stuart Selner and Vauxhall’s brand manager Ian Mitchell. Pictures and highlights from the judging day are currently featured in Cosmo’s December issue which recently hit news stands last Thursday 7th November.
Detailing the inspiration behind her front cover design, Abygail was quoted on Cosmo’s site saying: “My design was inspired by the idea that everybody has a different perspective on what makes an Ultimate Woman. The lipstick print is like a fingerprint, unique to every woman. The beauty of it is that these kisses could be from women of any race, size, age or background – it’s accessible for everyone.”
In addition to making the front cover, the final winner will also receive the Ultimate Creative Award in front of a host of inspirational real-life women and star-studded celebrities at the Ultimate Women of the Year Awards. All will be revealed on Thursday 5th December at London’s glittering V&A Museum so fingers crossed for our very own Abygail Bradley!
First, second and third year students from our BA (Hons) Performance: Dance Theatre course are working together as a company for the first time ever to deliver a brand new Monty Python inspired show entitled ‘And Now for Something Completely Different.’ Choreographed by Salford alumni and independent dance artist Jo Ashbridge, this thought provoking and sometimes simply absurd performance promises to deliver bits of silly dancing, a series of comical vignettes and bouts of satirical humour. Drawing on Monty Python’s 1970’s sketch comedy series Flying Circus and their hit film Life of Brian, this dance theatre piece will provide an altogether comical take on societal norms that everyone will be able to relate to.
Commenting on the show’s theme, Jo explained: “I used the theme for my dissertation piece whilst at University and found it offered a great deal of scope for creating dance theatre material. Using the surreal elements of Flying Circus gave us with the scope to do what we wanted, whilst the Life of Brian theme provided various narratives for the piece.”
Between their weekly rehearsals, technical workshops and costume fittings, all seventeen Dance Theatre students have been working extremely hard to juggle the demands of the show alongside their day to day studies. Commenting on the experience, final year student Zara Warbuton said: “The last few weeks have been extremely busy and very tiring but it’s definitely been worth it. Next Friday will be the last time all of us third years will perform together so I’m really hoping it’s going to be a night to remember.”
Fellow final year student and aspiring arts marketer, Laura Thomas added: “This project has been a great way to kick off my third year at university. Working with the first and second years as a collective has given us the opportunity to experience what it’s like to work within a professional dance company. I’m very proud with what we’ve been able to achieve together as a group.”
Join Zara, Laura and the rest of our Dance Theatre students next Friday 15th November in The Robert Powell Theatre for their premiere of ‘And Now for Something Completely Different’. The first performance starts at 2pm with a final show rounding out the evening at 7:30pm. This is a free public event so reserve your seats today and don’t miss out!