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Where Are You Now?

Amy Cawthorn

Amy Cawthorn

BA Combined Studies (Drama and Music)  2011

Amy Cawthorn is using performing to transform lives as part of the Open Mind Theatre Company. 

The Drama and Music graduate works alongside children from mainstream and special schools as well as with vulnerable adults in Performing Arts workshops across the North of England. 

She has also turned her hand to directing and for the past three years has worked with over 200 children to produce shows for the Rotherham Shakespeare Festival. Helping young people to gain confidence on stage and learn more about the World’s most famous playwright, she has found, is one of the most rewarding aspects of her work.

“It’s really fun to unlock the language barriers between modern day English and Shakespeare and show children that Shakespeare isn’t scary when you act it out on it’s feet and you get to understand the meanings and the themes of the plays we’re studying,” she explained.  

Amy has long been an advocate for Community work, and is grateful to the University for helping her to gain more experience and hone in her passion.  

“I’ll always remember the first open day I came to when I attended the Combined Subjects and Music & Drama talks and I asked the lecturers whether or not there was any scope to work within the community on these courses,” she recalled.  

“I was so pleased to find that there were community modules in both of my chosen subjects that I was hooked!”  

Although she believes that all of her lecturers have influenced her a lot, she reserves special praise for Phil Ellis’ Sound and Music Therapies in Practice module, which appealed to her love of innovation and inclusivity.  

She continued: “We learnt about Interactive Multi-Sensory Environments in which participants could interact with sound and images via sound beams using programming. I’ll always remember him saying that iMUSE was a project that focused on people working from the inside out.”  

As someone who had to deal with knock backs before realising her dream, Amy maintains that the ability to show resilience and having the mental strength to deal with rejection are crucial for any graduate looking for work in a competitive marketplace. She added that anyone with the right amount of skill, determination and hard work can achieve their goals in the workplace.  

“Don’t be afraid of being knocked back and be resilient!” she advised. “I didn’t manage to get into the job I loved until two years after my graduation and, although you might feel like a sell out to begin with, that job you’ve taken up just to pay the rent might also pay for your driving lessons or more training in your field of expertise which can certainly help to acquire a job you love in the future.”  

In the near future, Amy is bringing another one of her community-based projects, the Rotherham African drummers, to the University of Sunderland for a reunion with their compatriots who have remained here.  

“In April 2017 I will bring the Rotherham African Drummers to the University of Sunderland so that the UOS African Drummers can celebrate their five year reunion,” she added. “I really enjoy sharing skills whilst helping others to grow and hope to continue this long into the future.” 

Amy continues finds her job hugely inspiring and is looking towards enjoying a long career in the industry. 

She concluded: “My partner and I have just bought our first home together and, although we’re not ready for settling down just yet, we’re really excited to start our future together too.”

UOS African Drummers: https://www.facebook.com/groups/37171217105/ 

Rotherham African Drummers: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1538011039784681/ 

Open Minds Theatre Company: www.omtc.org.uk 

Article written by Matthew Shevlin, University of Sunderland Journalism graduate.

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