Having joined De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) through Clearing in 2017, Will Haynes is now one step closer to his dream of becoming a theatre director, after achieving a First Class Honours degree in Drama.
Will (21) applied to DMU three years ago through the Clearing process when he received his A-Level results.
“I didn’t get the grades I expected so I had to rethink about where I might like to study,” he explained. “DMU has invested massively in its theatre facilities and campus in recent years and that was really attractive to me as a prospective Drama student.
“The biggest selling point for me though was how diverse the university is. The teaching staff and the student body are so diverse with people from all kinds of backgrounds and cultures. I knew I would feel comfortable studying at DMU.
“I had an idea of what Clearing was but when it came to going through the process it couldn’t have been easier. I rang up and gave my details and they told me I’d be hearing from someone soon.
“Because I wanted to study Drama, I thought it might be long-winded and that I’d have to get to Leicester really quickly to do an audition but actually I was able to have a phone interview with the course leader.
“The call was only meant to be half an hour but we ended up chatting for over an hour. They made me feel like they were actually interested in me and had time for me rather than just treating me as another number out of thousands of applicants.”
Soon after he had secured his place on the Drama course Will quickly realised he had made the right choice.
“Since joining DMU I have visited other universities and they feel a bit archaic to me now – and not just the buildings and campuses but the teaching style too.
"Whereas DMU has had so much development and investment in recent years it feels like a university that is very much in the here and now, and that definitely comes through in the things you learn here.
“Being taught by people who write the academic books we study from and have professional experience really sets you up for a career in the industry.
“My highlight of the last three years was probably when Manuel Vason, a performance photographer, came in to do two workshops with us. It was really interesting and helpful to get a real-life insight and it’s always good to be able to make those connections and hear how others have got into the industry.
Clearing at DMU helps Kelly act out ambitions
Find out more about studying Drama at DMU
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“The uni’s partnership with Curve is also a massive bonus.”
DMU works closely with Leicester’s Curve Theatre, offering third-year students an opportunity to put on an exclusive production on the professional stage.
“Our show was meant to be performed in May but due to COVID-19, we had to take the production online,” said Will. “It turned out really well and we actually learnt a lot of new technical skills that we probably wouldn’t have learnt if the show wasn’t online.
“Just having the opportunity to get that professional experience under my belt has been so useful. DMU is known for giving its students the employability needed to get a job straight out of uni. I feel like I have had three years of working to a professional standard so I am perfectly set up to go into work.”
As he prepares to graduate this summer, Will - who is originally from Manchester - has already bagged a job in London where he hopes to build his career in performing arts.
“The plan is to move to London, get a steady income and then pursue theatre opportunities outside of work,” he said. “I really want to go into the theatre production side of things. My end goal is to one day be a writer or a director – or both!
“I will miss Leicester though. I think it is the perfect student city. It’s the ideal size for a student because it’s small enough to not need a car and you can walk pretty much everywhere, but there is still decent nightlife, culture and loads of places to shop and eat out.”
Posted on Thursday 30th July 2020