29 April 2013

Student chosen for cast of world premiere of Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott's new play

An Essex student has been chosen to join the international cast of O Starry Starry Night the new play by Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott set to premiere at the Lakeside Theatre this week on Thursday 2 May.

Mike Prokopiou is a second year Drama student and will play a zouave – a French soldier – in the show which centres on the relationship between artists Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin.

The cast of O Starry, Starry Night with the students who are part of the production

The cast with Mike, Eloise and Christine

Mike, who wants to go on to be a professional actor, said: “An exciting factor about being in the cast is that it will be the first ever production of the play, so I love the fact that we as a University and as a production team are able to say that we hosted and were a part of something that has never been done before."

The University was keen to involve students in all aspects of the production and students are also involved in the technical side of the show. Second year drama student Eloise Thyne is Stage Manager and first year drama student Christine Gomes is Assistant Stage Manager.

Eloise said: “I am really excited. I worked with a theatre company in my gap year and this is the first time I have worked on a professional show at the University.”

Christine said: “This is the first time I’ve done something like this and although I am more of a performer I think it is really important to understand every aspect of the theatrical process.”

Mike added: “I'm hoping to learn a lot from everyone involved in the production. I'm hoping to learn techniques and styles from the cast during the rehearsal process so I can carry those through to future productions I am in. Being surrounded by professionals will help develop me into a better actor.”

Student Mike Prokopiou talks about performing in O Starry Starry Night by Derek Walcott from University of Essex on Vimeo.

Mike said he has gained a huge amount from studying Drama at Essex: “Since being at Essex I've gained a wider understanding of what goes into the production of plays regarding the technical side of things, which has been largely to do with being able to use the Lakeside’s facilities. Being at Essex, I've appreciated the writing process behind plays a lot more, which has come from the course making us study where playwrights may have taken inspiration from, as well as through the practical side of the course which has allowed us to devise our own pieces of drama.”

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