We’re so proud of our class of 2022. They’ve overcome enormous challenges, helped others, grasped opportunities, and developed their skills, showing their Essex Spirit in so many ways. And they’ve done all of this during a global pandemic when life – and student life – changed beyond recognition. Here, we’re taking the opportunity to share some of their stories.
Tue 12 Jul 22
Marina Cusi Sanchez is already making waves in the world of theatre. While studying at Essex, she wrote a play which kickstarted a sexual harassment campaign and now she’s establishing her own theatre company.
Before coming to Essex, Marina Cusi had already graduated in drama school in Barcelona. But starting an artistic career in England and getting involved in academia was always one of her biggest dreams, so, in her own words, she “packed my bags and came to what looked like the most rebellious university in the UK to study drama”.
Four years later, after successfully completing a BA Drama and Literature (with placement year), she is already in the process of developing her own theatre company called Mad, Who? which is based at the Innovation Centre and supported by Essex Startups.
“My goal is to create engaging theatre that delves into human rights issues through a feminist lens and serves as a catalyst for change within both local and wider communities,” she said.
Marina Cusi is already responsible for making a positive change to the lives of those around her through her drama.
In her first year (2019), she staged her play Plucked. The play tackled the pressing issue of sexual harassment on UK campuses and was created from numerous interviews with women studying on the Colchester Campus.
“We premiered at the Hex, and so many people came that we had to improvise a second showcase that same evening,” she said. “The play ended up making waves, kickstarting the We Are Tired protests on campus, and inspiring the University to revise and change their code of conduct. It was a great experience, with which I discovered the brilliant community of students we have here on campus.”
It was this experience which ultimately led her to the role of Women’s Officer with the Students’ Union.
“I adored the position of Women's Officer,” she said “I had a great time serving an uplifting women's community throughout my studies at Essex. It is true what they say that we are the home of the curious, brave, and bold. I have been extremely honoured to witness it first-hand.”
As well as the unexpected challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Marina Cusi’s university experience has had its difficult moments, but she praises the staff in the Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies (LiFTS) for their ongoing support.
“I have been struggling for many years with both OCD and ADD and, although I don’t let this define me or limit me in any way, it does have a great impact on my personal and academic life,” she said. “Luckily, I have found in LiFTS the most understanding, encouraging, and supportive group of people, who have been there for me unconditionally for the last four years.
“I will never have enough words of praise and gratitude to offer them in compensation for the ongoing love, support, and dedication that they have had towards me and towards any other student that has knocked on their door.”