Your voice for the festival

Noises Off is a place for you to write reviews, share your thoughts, make some jokes and join in the discussion. You can submit articles by email to noff@nsdf.org.uk, or – even better – come and visit the NOFFice in the Union bar at any time of the day and discuss ideas with the team. Follow and tweet us @noffmag.

Earning your stripes

14 April 2017

The reality of onstage pain, by Oliver Strong

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As A Man

14 April 2017

Oliver Rudge from he she they reflects on gender

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When I think of Syria

14 April 2017

Munya Redman-Bayasi remembers Syria before 2011, which the rest of the world seems to have forgotten

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Hear The People Sing: Jo Cox tribute

14 April 2017

Dona Munday explains her summer project in tribute to the MP

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From the quiet human in the corner

14 April 2017

One festgoer has loved this week, but picks holes in the way the festival runs

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Rewrite the narrative

14 April 2017

Kate Wyver responds to the discussion on women in leadership

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'Minority' report

14 April 2017

Jasmine Chong reflects on her own ethnic Chinese identity in the context of the UK and student theatre

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The resistance

14 April 2017

Louise Cross responds to Ghee Bowman's provocation

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Much extend, very metaphor, wow

14 April 2017

Alex Prescot on the intensity of a week at NSDF, and whether that's a good thing

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To myself, a week ago

14 April 2017

Florence Bell gives some advice to her past self

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Boxes within boxes within boxes

14 April 2017

Ghee Bowman talks to Pixels designer David Callanan about how he achieved the show's onstage technical wizardry

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It's nothing personal until it is

14 April 2017

Callum Kenny pockets his £20 like a trooper

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Credit where credit's due

14 April 2017

Shannon Atherton on how the issues facing us in society have been tackled with skill, respect and consideration

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Off to Neverland

13 April 2017

Kate Wyver demands we're given the space to play

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Did you get a bad review?

13 April 2017

A poetic response to the criticism of Florence Bell and Lily James, by Miriam Schechter

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Consider yourself proven wrong

13 April 2017

Eve Allin is tired of being edited out of her own history

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Part of a bigger picture

13 April 2017

Lilith Wozniak and Ben Kulvichit discuss their reaction to Pixels and sci-fi theatre in general

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Prove me wrong

12 April 2017

Ghee Bowman asks why students are afraid of the classics

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Little Bird

12 April 2017

A call to action from Hannah Hughes

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The artist is present, and screaming

11 April 2017

Seeing No Human is Illegal moved Iain Orr to scream and shout and promise to turn every head towards the refugee crisis

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Return to form

11 April 2017

After developing PTSD, Anna Follows lost her spark for theatre. Here she describes her experience, and how she got her drive back

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A bitter pill

11 April 2017

The casting in Swallow of a cisgender man in a trans role needs to be challenged, says Callum Kenny

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That's what happened

11 April 2017

Lily James chats with the cast of Swallow about their rehearsal process, journeys taken and gender-blind casting

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The forgotten discussion

11 April 2017

We should be doing a lot more to provide access for those with disabilities, says Helen Morley

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Troubled times

11 April 2017

The Iconoclasts pays due reverence to the music and comedy, so why is the same respect not shown to Northern Ireland's history? asks Daryl Holden

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Pause for dramatic effect

11 April 2017

Wilkie Dickinson-Sparkes on how breaks in iambic pentameter provide insights into Shakespeare's characters

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An old man writes

10 April 2017

Festival veteran Kieran Balfe reminisces about the last time NSDF was in Hull

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The value of criticism: an interview with Mark Shenton

10 April 2017

Mark Shenton is the lead theatre critic for The Stage. Kate Wyver sat down with him to ask for some advice

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Living in the theatre bubble

10 April 2017

There is no stranger danger at NSDF, says Joseph Winer. In fact, it's the opposite

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All the small things

9 April 2017

The musical Ordinary Days eschews 'big fancy numbers' and 'jazz hands' for intimate moments and everyday experiences, director Sophie Forster tells Kate Wyver

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In plain sight

9 April 2017

Lily James talks to Alex Prescot, director of Hidden, about the difficulties of hiding in student theatre, and the frustrations of barcodes on creme eggs 

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Room for everyone

9 April 2017

Student theatre has a responsibility to promote diversity, and new writing is one important way of doing that, says Florence Bell

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Taking the numb out of numbers

9 April 2017

Phoebe Graham talks to director Josie Davies about the challenges of responding to the Syrian crisis through theatre.

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How not to make friends

25 March 2016

by Joseph Winer

On telling people that no, I am not with a show, no, I am not part of the company, and no, I don’t even go to a university associated with one of the shows, I receive a general response of “Well done!” and “Wow, that’s brave!”. To combat the potential loneliness that would have isolated me to the realms of my B&B, with nothing to do but write for Noises Off all week, I made the conscious decision to mingle.

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Just a voice

24 March 2016

by Kate Wyver

“How real is it?”

This is the question that’s been whispered round the in-the-round theatre as soon as the lights come up on Daniel. I sat down with the cast and crew to unpeel the layers of truth beneath this provocative piece of new writing about the impact of child pornography.

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Surviving and thriving as a freelancer

24 March 2016

by Alice Saville

What's your plan after graduating? University careers officers, parents and friends might all be doing their best to persuade you that if you don't have a solid gold graduate job offer then you'll end up hawking dented tins of catfood from a tartan wheelie shopper within a decade. You don't need to listen to them. 

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Sanitised discussions

24 March 2016

by Kelly Goldring

What is the point?

When I first came along to the NSDF I was told that a key highlight was the vibrant discussions which would dissect the theatrical productions and consider the merits and area of weakness of each piece allowing true reflection for all involved.

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Noble envy

24 March 2016

by Lily James

Envy sits in the corner, tearing the label off its beer. It’s a feeling that lives at the backs of workshops, at the corners of the bar. And I have been envious this week. Worse, at times I’ve been actively very jealous.

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Interview: Dahmer in Scarborough's Terror Tower

23 March 2016

Jeffrey Dahmer was a monster by anyone's standards. He killed 17 boys and men between 1978 and 1991 – and even ate parts of their flesh. Amie Petriccia-Lear's play tells his story. So we took her and director Thomas Newall to the scariest place in Scarborough to find out more: horror experience Terror Tower.

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Open letter to the cast of Daniel

23 March 2016

To the cast and crew of Daniel,

There are many things I would like to say to you all, but I feel it is appropriate first to thank you. Those of you who I have already spoken to have treated me with such kindness and showed genuine concern and thoughtfulness towards my position.

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'Can you take me back with you?'

23 March 2016

by Kate Wyver

Many of us who say we want a career in theatre are often asked what we’ll actually do, how we’re actually useful, if our degree is actually real. We are asked, essentially, to justify our skillset and our interests. At the end of yesterday’s discussion we had something that in five minutes not only justified but also added value to everything that we do. 

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Scarborough rock: Alan Ayckbourn's support for the Steven Joseph Theatre

22 March 2016

by Alice Saville

Bite into Alan Ayckbourn (not literally, we're strictly respectful here) and you'd find him patterned through with Scarborough like a stick of John Bull's rock (and it's much better than Blackpool's rival offering, if you're asking). His 60-year, 80-play career would be formidable if it weren't for the sweetness of his work, cut through with enough acidity to sting but not enough to deter the flocking holiday crowds.

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Truth is stronger with fiction

22 March 2016

by Richard Dennis

There was a moment in Sunday's discussion on looking after ourselves and each other when a question was asked about using people's personal stories when making theatre. Luke Barnes answered by saying that the person you're writing about should be at the centre of the process, and it's not about the writer's vision. This was met with general consent, but I wonder how universally applicable this rule is when making theatre, especially after seeing The Beanfield and Daniel.

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That's what she said

22 March 2016

by Kate Wyver

They cum at the same time, they share bedtime story duty and they share swanky suits. Mark Ravenhill’s political drama Over There focuses on a pair of identical twin brothers reunited after the fall of the Berlin Wall, but director Josie Davies has chosen to cast gender-blind with Bryony Davies and Samuel Wightman playing the twins.

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The after effect

21 March 2016

by Kate Wyver

NSDF’s post-lunch discussions are one of the most communal parts of the festival, led daily by the ever fair, ever so slightly scary Chris Thorpe. The subject of the first discussion, "how to look after ourselves and others", feels timely as the production, management and technical teams are working flat out. 

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The empty space: the mystery of UCL’s disappearing theatres

19 March 2016

by Alice Saville

As theatre director Peter Brook had it, “I can take any empty space and call it a bare stage.” It’s a fine idea. But what does a student drama society do when it’s forced to search harder and harder for the room to exist?

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Interview - Josie Davies

19 March 2016

by Kate Wyver

Josie Davies, co-producer of the highly acclaimed Lemons, Lemons, Lemons, Lemons, Lemons at NSDF last year, is returning to the 2016 festival as director of Mark Ravenhill’s political drama Over There with the Warwick University Drama Society. “We built a kind of community at last year’s festival and there was already so much support by the time we went with the show to Edinburgh,” she says, so she’s excited to approach this year with a more directly artistic view.

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Interview - Timothy West

19 March 2016

by Richard Dennis

The National Student Drama Festival started in 1956, and is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. Actor Timothy West was there all those years ago, and we spoke to him about what he remembers and how the acting world has changed. 

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Behind the curtain on the NSDF awards

by Alice Saville

Getting a show to the NSDF is already a pretty sweet achievement: albeit one that requires tons of hard work and fundraising to enjoy. But the cherry on the top is winning a prize at the festival awards. We've interviewed Robert Hewison to get the inside story on how the judging system works – and on a few times where it's been inches from chaos.

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