Ingrid Johnson on why she chose Sheffield for her MA (Theatre and Performance Studies)
Ingrid completed her BA in Australia before coming to Sheffield for her MA. Our vibrant student community and welcoming, friendly atmosphere helped her to decide that the Sheffield was the place for her.
Why did you choose to study in Sheffield?
For me, choosing a university was a really overwhelming process. I'd just started volunteering in Malawi for the summer when I got my acceptance email, which meant I couldn't come to see the campus for myself.
I managed to call the Department and spoke to some of the staff, who I thought was so lovely and really took the time to answer all my questions.
I got a really good vibe from them right away, and the course (MA Theatre and Performance Studies) seemed perfect for me. I wanted something that would have a good balance between theory and practice, as I really wanted to develop my practical skills in theatre and this course has definitely done that.
What made the University of Sheffield stand out for you?
The student community is so vibrant. There are countless societies here, from comedy to capoeira and I was surprised at how easy it was to make friends in a new city. As a student studying theatre, there are also really good resources and spaces available to create in, and a lot of support from the staff.
What do you particularly enjoy about studying theatre?
I love stories and the art of telling them. It was my passion for storytelling that drew me to theatre performance. I love knowing that I have all the tools I need, my voice, body and mind, and with those tools the potential to reach out and connect with people. It's incredibly empowering.
I've really enjoyed having the opportunity to perform in multiple projects. There is a lot going on here and I feel like I've grown a lot both academically and on a personal level.
What are you currently researching for your MA dissertation?
For my dissertation, I'm looking at theatre, comedy and feminism. As a female who dabbles in comedy, I have often wondered, quite frankly, where all the other women are. This isn't to say there aren't female comedians, but the ratio is way off.
I think it's really important to talk about because it seems to me that there is a massive percentage of the population whose stories aren't being told or listened to, and I want my research to address this.
How did the School of English help support you through the whole process from application to settling in?
During the application process, the university was really helpful, answering all my questions patiently. After I accepted the offer I came to orientation week which was really informative and helpful. We met with the head of our course who answered all our questions and took us around to the different spaces that would be available to us.
Throughout my course, I never felt as though I couldn't approach my professors while I was struggling or to ask simple questions.
What are your top tips for any international students thinking about studying English in Sheffield?
Don't be shy about the university and ask to have a chat. Speaking to the head of the department was so helpful to me when I was trying to make this decision and made me feel so much more comfortable about such an important choice.
I'm from Australia myself and didn't know anyone before moving here, but like I mentioned before there are so many clubs and societies to get involved in. Considering this it wasn't long before I felt comfortable calling Sheffield home.
What is your highlight of studying and/or living in Sheffield so far?
Everyone is so friendly and I've really enjoyed having the opportunity to perform in multiple projects. There is a lot going on here and I feel like I've grown a lot both academically and on a personal level.
Tell us about being a postgraduate in the department.
There is a lot going on. It feels like every week there are research papers being presented and people discussing their 'works in progress'. I really missed studying after finishing my undergraduate degree and was excited to come back.
I'm glad my postgraduate experience was so interesting and full of opportunities. Since coming here I have watched a lot of abstract ideas floating around in my head become a part of my reality and it's been a really fun journey.
What do you know now about Sheffield that you didn’t know before you came here?
Students can ride the bus for a pound, 'Interval' does really good wedges and the comedy scene is alive and well.
What are your plans after your MA?
My short term plans are to take a year off, find a job (preferably in the arts) then progress to further study. I'd love to do a PhD in Theatre and Performance, as creating theatre is undoubtedly where my passions lie and I would love to challenge myself whilst developing these skills further.
I have absolutely loved the research I've done this year in my MA, and think I have a future in Theatre and academia.