University graduates work at a frantic pace to create new theatre production

Alumni news

Wednesday 22 January 2014

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A group of Performing Arts graduates from Coventry University’s School of Art and Design are working flat out on a producing a new theatre piece for a free, one-off public performance on Friday.

In a test of their creative skills and ability to work under pressure, the group has been given only a week to put the production, entitled The Next Chapter, together from scratch.  They were set the challenge by internationally acclaimed theatre company Frantic Assembly which returns to the city for the third year running as part of a creative collaboration that it has formed with the University.
Rehearsals for The Next Chapter, which explores the human need and desire for change, began in earnest at Coventry University’s Institute for Creative Enterprise on Monday 13 January. Under the direction of two of Frantic Assembly’s lead practitioners, the graduates are working on all aspects of the performance, from script editing to choreography and musical arrangement.
The project with Frantic Assembly is being funded by the School of Art and Design through its Creative Futures office, which supports and seeks out career opportunities for students and graduates of the arts.
Dr Sara Reed, Associate Head of Performing Arts at Coventry School of Art and Design, said:

I’m delighted that Frantic Assembly are returning to give more of our Performing Arts graduates the benefit of their professional expertise. Our graduates have been set a daunting creative challenge but they’re also being afforded the opportunity to work with and learn from one of the country’s most exciting theatre companies.

Performer Nathan Clarke, who graduated from Coventry University last year with an upper second class honours degree in Theatre and Professional Practice, said:

Putting a piece of theatre together from scratch in such a short space of time is really tough but we’re having a lot of fun and it’s brilliant to be working alongside seasoned professional performers. We’re really looking to the show and we hope our audience will enjoy what we’ve come up with.

Vicki Manderson, Learn and Train Practitioner at Frantic Assembly, said:

We’re thrilled to be back at Coventry University for this exciting project and we hope that the participants will be inspired by the experience.They’re being pushed really hard but they’ve risen to the challenge and are giving their best as viewers will find out at Friday’s performance.

The performance of The Next Chapter will take place at 7pm on Friday 17 January in the Ellen Terry Building in Jordan Well on Coventry University’s city centre campus. The performance is free to view. 
For further information and images, please contact Mark Farnan, communications officer, Coventry University, on +44 (0)24 7765 8245 or email

Creative Futures is the employability unit in Coventry University’s School of Art and Design. Based on the University campus, its staff members liaise closely with the careers service and other organisations to provide support to both undergraduates and graduates to help with planning their career, finding employment, setting up business ventures and securing placements as part of their course.
Frantic Assembly creates thrilling, energetic and unforgettable theatre. The company attracts new and young audiences with work that reflects contemporary culture. Vivid and dynamic, Frantic Assembly's unique physical style combines movement, design, music and text. Having toured extensively throughout the UK and abroad, Frantic Assembly has built an enviable reputation as one of the most exciting companies in the country.