Do you ever wonder what our graduates get up to? Drama alumni from the University of Manchester have gone on to have a variety of careers; our series of alumni profiles shows just a few of the directions a drama degree can take you in. All our featured alumni graduated in the last ten years – here Shereen Perera tells us about her work and how it grew out of studying at Manchester.
BA Drama and English, 2011
I am currently the Capital Bid Co-Ordinator at Contact Theatre in Manchester, working on their £6.2million redevelopment project. I am also the co-director and music curator for Video Jam which I helped to set up in 2012. Video Jam’s main concept is an evening of short films with a variety of live musical accompaniment. The events seek to explore the relationship between sound and moving image. So far we’ve done 33 events and worked with over 320 artists. Video Jam programmes always consist of different genres of film and music, exposing audiences to new work. It’s really rewarding working with a wide range of artists at different points in their career. I love being given the opportunities to curate site-specific programmes, whether that’s for the re-opening of The Whitworth Gallery in Manchester, an event at Liverpool Cathedral, or in DIY settings like Islington Mill.
My experiences at the University of Manchester taught me the value of collaborative working and seeing my work from different perspectives. I run Video Jam with my former classmate Sarah Hill who is the film curator. We both have very different skillsets but the same kind of attitude and commitment when it comes to our work. We complement each other well and this is a good grounding for a professional relationship. The people in my year group definitely help each other out – even now some years after graduating.
I organized and staged a lot of events and productions during my time at university, from fundraisers for the Drama Society, to producing plays in the John Thaw Studio, to directing site-specific work at the student pub The Ram & Shackle. These experiences gave me valuable production and event management skills.