Case study

Masters student — Sanjana Samaddar

After coming to the UK to study an undergraduate degree in English literature and theatre studies, Sanjana decided to pursue the MA in Creative Producing at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (CSSD) in London

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

At school, I developed an interest in English literature and theatre, so I couldn't think of a better place to study than the UK, given its culture, history and renowned theatre industry.

Having attended a British international school and visited the UK several times, I was also familiar with the country and thought it would be an exciting place to study with plenty of new opportunities.

Why did you choose this Masters degree and this institution in particular?

While studying my degree at the University of Warwick, I got involved in drama societies and became interested in the production side of theatre, having directed and produced several shows.

I felt like Central's Masters course combined the analytical skills required, along with the practical knowledge I'd gained and loved learning about through my extra-curricular activities.

I liked that the course was comprehensive and vocational, that it attracted an international cohort, and that it was based in London - one of the best places to be for theatre.

Describe the course in five words…

Practical, theoretical, networking, in-depth and opportunity.

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

Yes, I joined straight after graduation.

How did you fund your postgraduate study?

It was partly self-funded and partly funded through a scholarship.

What has the course taught you that your first degree did not?

Compared to my Bachelors degree, which was much more text-based and focused on theatre literature, this Masters provides me with an in-depth practical understanding of the theatre industry and its challenges and opportunities right now - it's very much grounded in the moment and prepares you to be a producer in the field.

What does the course involve?

It involves lectures and seminars from visiting lecturers who are all professionals in their field, from both the subsidised and commercial producing sector. You get to work in a tight-knit group within your course cohort, as well as getting to collaborate with those on other courses through a series of projects and presentation pitches.

There are also lots of independent-led projects and study, including a 'Practices' module spread over two-terms. It involves undergoing industry placements with companies of your choice, a chance to do a 'Sustained Independent Project' in your final term in a variety of written or practical forms, and independent critical reflections to submit for assessment.

How does postgraduate life differ to that of an undergraduate?

It's different as it can be both very intense and free. The first term of this course is more full-on than any week of an undergraduate degree, as you're introduced to new ideas, people, and opportunities in a very short time span, going into university almost every day. But at the same time, a postgraduate degree is much more what you make of it and while there's support, you need to understand what it is you want to do and why, ask the questions you need, and go after the opportunities you want and actively seek them out - no one will do it for you.

What are your career ambitions?

To get as much experience as I can in different contexts during this course and a better understanding of what interests me and where and how I'd like to work. I hope that after this course, I will have gained the skills and experience to work in a production company of my choice, and to be able to create inspiring work in an ethical way with others.

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

That postgraduate learning is much more of a two-way street, especially when it comes to placements and deciding what type of person and worker you want to be - you have a big say in dictating what your experience will look like. I don't think I was prepared for that. But generally, it's best to go in with an open mind and let yourself be surprised. There are things which will be tough and new, but that's all part of it and it's usually not possible to know in advance.

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

Focus on what you already enjoy and take into account what you don't - both give vital information about where you might go next.

Also, don't be afraid to explore different courses and look at things you might not have considered before. You don't need to be 100% certain that it's the right thing for you and it's ok to change your mind - but it's important you believe the course could be something you'll enjoy, and something you want to find out more about.

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