Our Theatre Editor, Miles Fagge, interviews both Dara Meunier-Patterson, the star of SMuTs breath-taking production of Cabaret last term and SUDs member Emma Zambon, who gave a brilliantly chilling performance in last year’s St Helanas, about getting involved in drama and music theatre at Sussex.

MF: Why did you want to become involved in SUDs?

EZ: I became involved in SUDs because I have always loved acting and I thought that it would be a great opportunity to meet new people.

MF: How did it feel to perform on stage at the university?

EZ: At first I was nervous before the show started but once I got on stage the nerves allowed me to deliver a more powerful performance. I really enjoyed performing to a smaller audience as it allowed people to become more emotionally invested and feel like they were part of the story. One of the advantages of performing to a university audience is that you can address more mature themes. For example, in St Helenas we were able to perform a dark comedy depicting the lives of young women at boarding school.

MF: What have you gained from being part of SUDs?

EZ: I have been so fortunate to have been part of a great cast and as such have gained many new friends. It has also allowed me to have an escape from studying, which was invaluable in the first term of my second year as the degree became more intense and challenging.

MF: What advice would you give to anyone hoping to get involved this year?

EZ: I would say go for it! It is a great way to express yourself, increase your confidence and meet new people. I would advise people to seriously think about the time they would need to set aside for rehearsal and learning lines as it is a big commitment, but one you will not regret

(Turns to Dara)

MF: Why did you want to become involved in SMuTS?

DMP: Coming from France, university societies were a completely new concept to me. I definitely wanted to be part of at least one of them. I had taken dance lessons and singing lessons for 13 years and SMuTS seemed like the perfect way to combine dancing and singing whilst trying out acting.

MF: What first drew you to musical theatre?

DMP: My mother had always shown me different musicals growing up: Cats, The Sound of Music, Grease, Hairspray, The little shop of horrors, Sweeney Todd, Chicago, and many more. Being a part of an artistic project like a musical was one of my goals and SMuTS had a very good reputation.

MF: How did it feel to perform in front of a packed Mandela Hall?

DMP: It was the most thrilling thing I have ever done. Although I grew up performing on stage, there’s nothing quite like putting on a show with a cast, a band, technical professionals, and a huge group of friends. After 3 months of rehearsals, the final performance in Mandela Hall with a great crowd is one of my best memories at university.

MF: What have you gained from being part of SMuTS?

DMP: You gain so much from being in any kind of group or society at Sussex. But SMuTS in particular gave me more confidence, challenged me as a performer, taught me acting skills (I had never acted before in my life), and blessed me with a bunch of talented friends.

MF: What advice would you give to anyone hoping to get involved this year?

DMP: I know how scary auditions can be but if you don’t try, you don’t get. Every audition I had with SMuTS was always a good experience: the panel was always lovely and encouraging and the members are so welcoming. Also always try once more no matter what part you want whether it is chorus or lead part. I was chorus for 2 years and then got a lead in my last year. I enjoyed every moment of my time with SMuTS.

 

For more information on joining or auditioning or SUDs or SMuTs, like their Facebook pages: https://www.facebook.com/SUDSTheatre/ and

 https://www.facebook.com/sussexmusical/

About the author

Bianca Serafini

Resident American Arts Editor, overseas the Arts section with meticulous efficiency. Pitch her anything, big or small, as she’s usually locked up in the Badger office drinking coffee, and occasionally absconds in search of a cheeseburger. Fun warning: don’t bring up Trump.

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