I had an absolutely fantastic time as a student… It’s the best bits of going to Edinburgh [Festival] all squashed into one week, and none of the bad bits.
Mark Ravenhill talks to TDS about his involvement at the National Student Drama Festival
The National Student Drama Festival returns in March for a week long celebration of theatre, live performance, discussion and special events. Students from around the UK will descend on Scarborough to take advantage of the many shows, workshops and debates covering all aspects of theatre and performance, incorporating acting, dance, writing, directing, designing, devising and production.
For over fifty years, NSDF has been a launch pad for many of today's biggest names in theatre and the arts. Contemporary playwright Mark Ravenhill, a ‘festival graduate' of '86, still holds the event close
to his heart. Whist studying at Bristol University, he and his peers were invited to perform their production of Strindberg's ‘The Ghost Sonata' and he quickly embraced the festival's rich culture. “I had an absolutely fantastic time as a student,” explains Ravenhill. “You get to see lots of other student shows and there's workshops with professional theatre people, which was beyond my university tutors. So that was a really new
experience, an exciting time.”
Ravenhill went on to hit theatre headlines with his explosive first play “Shopping and F**king” in 1996 at the Royal Court, with a series of other successful plays quick to follow. He has been a respected figure on the London stage ever since and was made an Associate at the National Theatre in 2003.
Ravenhill's fond memories of the NSDF have seen him return as a visiting workshop practitioner in recent years, and he believes that the event is more accessible than ever. “The NSDF is completely unique, there isn't anything else that gives students the forum to both see each other's work, and to interact with theatre professionals in such a
close environment,” he says. “In a way, they get something of a similar experience if they go to Edinburgh [Festival], but then Edinburgh is prohibitably expensive and there's no guarantee that people will come and see your show, or that you'll meet those interesting theatre professionals. It's the best bits of going to Edinburgh all squashed into one week, and none of the bad bits.”
Read the full published interview in The Drama Student Magazine where Mark continues his discussion on NSDF and his work with LAMDA students – Subscribe now
NSDF 09 – 28th March until 3rd April – Visit www.nsdf.org.uk
Photo credits: Mark Ravenhill photopgraphed by Simon Annand and NSDF images above Copyright Allan Titmuss