Case study

Masters student — Nishna Mehta

Nishna studied the BA in English Literature at Mithibai College of Arts, University of Mumbai, before moving to the UK to pursue the MA in Theatre for Young Audiences at Rose Bruford College

Why did you decide to pursue a postgraduate course in the UK?

Having worked in the theatre for young audiences (TYA) industry in India and being in touch with the global community, I wanted to specialise in the subject.

The course at Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance was the perfect match for what I was looking for - a theatre making course for and with young people rather than just educational or applied theatre.

Did you take up further study immediately after your first degree?

No, I worked in various TYA roles for a theatre company over several years, including taking on work as a performer, light operator, admin assistant, children's literature curator and festival manager for various projects.

I also worked as a communications executive in professional education theatre and attended TYA festivals as part of the International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People (ASSITEJ).

How are you funding your postgraduate study?

I self-funded my education in addition to a JN Tata Endowment Loan Scholarship. I've not been working during term time.

What is the course teaching you that your first degree did not?

My Bachelors degree in literature was highly academic and theoretical, but this postgraduate course is more of a balance between practical and academic work.

What does the course involve?

It covers skills training in singing, voice and text, movement, practice research, the history of TYA in the UK and Europe and devising workshops with guest facilitators who have specialised skills in areas such as puppetry, visual art, stage design, and using music as a starting point.

We also get to work on industry projects and visit schools so we can interact with our target audience. My Masters project was a play I wrote for ages 13 to 18, entitled Just Hang In There, which revolved around gender, cultural identity and mental health.

How does postgraduate life differ to that of an undergraduate?

Living by myself in a new country has been the biggest difference, as I was living with my parents during my undergraduate degree.

What have been the advantages/disadvantages of further study?

I don't see any real disadvantages in further study, as I believe that we're always learning and developing, even if it is repetition. There's always a new perspective.

What do you hope to do when you graduate?

Ideally, to build on the network I've developed during my studies in the UK and Ireland and see where that takes me. I'm also preparing to apply for a PhD.

What areas of work could you go into?

I'm looking into becoming a youth theatre facilitator and director, getting involved with playwriting and research.

What tips would you give to others choosing a Masters?

Knowing when the right time is and not rushing into further studies. You might want to volunteer or get work experience in the field you want to do your Masters in before you decide on a particular course. At this stage, knowing what you don't want is more important than knowing what you want.

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