Case study

Masters graduate — Nur Khairiyah Bte Ramli

After studying for a diploma in Theatre Arts at Lasalle College Of The Arts in Singapore Nur then chose to pursue an MA in Creative Producing at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

Why did you decide to pursue a Masters?

I graduated with a diploma in Theatre Arts in Singapore in 2008. I then decided to volunteer, take internships and work full-time in an arts organisation. My last full time job in Singapore before I moved to London in 2018 was at The Substation, an independent arts centre. I was the programmes manager for performing arts. I curated festivals and programmed their dance, music and theatre productions.

I realised I wanted to be a producer because of my experience working at The Substation. However I still felt inadequate, and didn't feel I was properly equipped to be a producer. And as part of my personal development and producing practice, I wanted to challenge myself and experience studying production overseas.

I always work towards a goal, or create an ambition for myself. I saw a video of an alumnus, who now produces the AVA Festival, and I told myself that's where and what I want to be. 

What was the application process like?

I had a joint interview with students applying for Advance Theatre Practice, back home in Singapore. There was a presentation that I needed to prep.

How did you fund your postgraduate study?

Lots of sacrifices but I also calculated my affordable losses. I did a Crowdfunding campaign and loaned money from my family. I'm still paying my school debts. I'm halfway there.

Tell us a little bit about the course and what it involved.

It involved lectures, presentations, lots of reading - but also you could plan your own trajectory. This course was like a support group for me. I met like-minded people who faced different challenges, putting out different 'fires' in a production. The course supported and fed my production practice. It made me reflect on who I was as a producer and what else do I wanted/needed to fulfil my production career.

How well connected was the Central School of Speech and Drama to the creative industries and why is this important?

Very well connected. It's important, because right after you're out of Central, you're going to independently create these relationships with the industry. Especially for me, who knows nothing about the UK landscape, having that connection is important.

However, I must also stress that as an individual, you need to work to create that industry connection and relationships. Central gave me the boost, but it's up to you to maintain the relationship.

How did postgraduate life differ to undergraduate?

For me personally, it's maturity. I'm actually glad that I didn't rush to do my postgraduate studies. After my undergraduate studies, I obtained skills on the job. But having that gap between 2008-2018 meant that I had the opportunity to experience the good, the bad, and the ugly. But it also made me a better producer.

What are you doing now you've graduated?

I'm currently the Project Coordinator at Complicite.

What do you wish you'd known before embarking on postgraduate study?

That it's ok to make mistakes. It's all about collaboration not competition.

What tips would you give to others choosing a Masters degree?

Write your goals and ambitions. Why do you want to do a Masters? Think ahead, and plan practically. I started doing a budget first. When you create budgets, you're also creating a narrative. What are your expenses, do you need to take a part-time job while studying, can you afford to, what's the contingency plan? Write it all down and find that one person you trust to talk through your plans with. Then put it out there in the universe. If you put your heart to it, everything else will fall in to place. But you have to do the work.

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