Acclaimed artist works with DMU students on inimitable show

Join Performing Arts students on a live theatrical journey into the world of YouTube, exploring ‘how to’ videos, advert jingles and TV clips.

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The final-year performers from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) - known as Eleven Ensemble - will act, sing and dance their way through a personal, funny and dark look at online identity construction called MeTube.

Working intensively with internationally acclaimed artist Hetain Patel - whose work has appeared on stage, online, on television and in print across the UK, China, India and the USA – they are bringing a distinctive show to campus on Thursday 16 and Friday 17 May.

Hetain said: “Every time I do a live work with a group I’m reminded of how intense and exhausting the early stages are, but as time goes on and if you do things right, then magic starts to happen.

“The show is going to be hugely entertaining. There are diverse skills within the group and we’re bringing them all out so it will be both funny and challenging to watch. Beyond that, hopefully you’ll go away with something to think about in terms of our identity in the world.” 

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The experience has given students the chance to take their professionalism to the next level and learn first-hand about managing every aspect of a production, including front of house, sound engineering, lighting, marketing and performing.

Italian student Stefania Rilievo has been writing performances since she was 10 years old and has worked as an actor on a number of big projects, including BBC Two’s upcoming drama Dark Money. 

She said: “Working with Hetain has given us the freedom to express ourselves. His support through this rewarding process has been such a privilege.” 

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Bee Hirani from North West London said: “I was already familiar with Hetain’s work, but meeting him in person and seeing how down to earth he is was a pleasant surprise.

“He is really professional but not in an intimidating way, taking our ideas on board and helping us to develop them into the best they can be.” 

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DMU has helped Bee discover a passion for radio thanks to her involvement with Demon FM, the university’s award-winning student-led radio station. Hosting her own afternoon show last year led to a summer placement as a co-presenter on VIBE 107.6 FM in Watford.

“You can expect a lot of wackiness and crazy things from our show,” said Zhane Mckenzie from South East London.

“We are blurring the boundaries between live and recorded performances, so it’s definitely going to be an experience not to be missed.” 

Encouraged by her tutors and persuaded by the Vice-Chancellor’s 2020 Scholarships – offering graduates a discount of up to 50 per cent on postgraduate tuition fees - Zhane is staying on to study a Performance Practices MA at DMU.

As one half of the MK Movement Company - whose first performance, Rogue, was featured in the UK Young Artists line-up earlier this year - she is hoping to develop a community-focused approach. 

Songwriter Montell Cox from Birmingham, who has immersed himself in Leicester’s music scene after enjoying the music management module on his course, said: “Hetain has taken us out of our comfort zone and it’s helped us to become better performers.”

“Three years ago I didn’t know any of my coursemates but we’ve come a long way together and have worked really hard to put on an entertaining show for everyone. It’s free, so why not come along?”

Posted on Thursday 2nd May 2019

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