Soooo close…


So, we’re back up to speed with my personal life messing with my uni life, but I’m still here, battling away, trying to thump out a dissertation to be proud of.

In my defence, the numerous months of physical inactivity weren’t entirely wasted. I took any opportunity to talk to people about my chosen subject and waffled endlessly to my other half. My head was forever trying to finalise the question so that I could start writing; the free rein to write about anything has never been something I enjoy. I’d rather have a solid question or point and then hurl myself at it.

That’s not how dissertations work though, is it?

After getting my work placement done and dusted, I was slowly ticking off the work still to be completed. Another glorious weight off my shoulders when I handed in the reflective journal for my work placement, I was moving ever closer to having nowhere else to hide, I was going to have to start dissertating, and seriously.

And I did.


Essential nutrients for successful dissertating.

It’s Easter Monday today and I’ve had no sleep, due to my back having twanged yesterday, leaving me unable to get comfy all night. This is going to be a fun day…

I’m having a break today from dissertating as I feel I need feedback for what I’ve written so far.  I’ve spent the previous week absolutely hammering it, and I’m cautiously optimistic that I’ve done ok so far.

I’ve just short of 900 words left to write, but I’m ready, I think, to start concluding. Tomorrow will be the first opportunity I’ve had to gain any sort of tutor feedback for what I’ve got, but I still have the rest of the week to conclude and tweak as necessary.

I’m actually not scared of my diss anymore, and it’s a glorious feeling.

Not as good as it’s going to feel handing the damn thing in mind!

So, there you have it, I’ve spent endless days and nights at my desk, clacking away and referencing like a demon. I’ve produced an incredibly dry, academic piece of writing, discussing the predisposition of some to having a higher level of emotional intelligence than others, making them better placed to progress as a stage manager. I’ve cited all sorts of sources and spent yesterday discussing my primary research; responses from festival directors and production managers about their experiences.

I’m quietly really quite proud of what I’ve written so far, but I might feel differently after a tutor or 2 has read through it.

I’ll keep you posted. Hand in is next week, and I can’t chuffing wait!




Soooo slow…


It’s been a bit of a while, I know, since I was last here, regaling you all in delightful stories and anecdotes about my dissertation, but here I am, by eck.

To catch y’all up to speed, everything kinda fell apart for me last year, a mere few weeks into the first semester of my final year, and it’s been a long haul to get to this point, but I managed it. Well, I am a stage manager…

Mid October, my oldest daughter’s birthday to be exact, my mother lands me with the devastating news that she has cancer. I lost all focus and direction for months and my dissertation suffered as much as my other modules. Thankfully radical surgery removed all the nasty bits and, fingers crossed, me ma is ok for a bit longer yet. I didn’t realise just how much it was affecting me until one night talking with my other half; I cried like a baby for so many reasons, but let’s not turn this post into a therapy session, I need to keep cracking on.

I missed my New Year draft hand in due to throwing all of my attentions at my creative project. I was still a bit fuzzy over the exact direction of my diss at the time and that was slowing me down from making progress. Also, it’s academia at its worst, and not my greatest ally. I’ve always felt confident of being able to manage the 7000 words required from my diss, I just couldn’t quite get started. Trying to find enough quiet time to turn my busy head into an oasis of academia and focus is nigh on impossible in my house.

After completing my project and spending the proceeding fortnight hammering the portfolio, I handed in everything for my creative project and told myself I could now try and get started with my diss.

Ever the optimist me…

I had one successful session in the library, but that was all. Work commitments, training days and my work placement all interrupted my dissertation progress, and my diss tutor was increasingly unimpressed. I really wasn’t trying to avoid her every week, I simply had several other commitments that were falling on Mondays, when I should have been chatting academia with her.

Progress was slow.

Did I say slow? I meant not there.

I knew I had to lock myself away somewhere for a week or so to allow my brain the necessary focus to dissertate, but…




More tea…? 

Another tea fuelled brain storming session has proved productive. I’ll be buying shares in Yorkshire Tea next week I reckon; the amount that’s being drunk to get the neurons firing is growing by the day. Today’s list of things to do included the formation of the 1000 word essay plan for my dissertation that’s due in next week. I’m comfortable with my working title/question, especially after running it past my tutor yesterday. I know my reason for wanting to answer the question I’m proposing, so that’s one less thing to think about, now I need to define the areas I need to study in order to reach a conclusion. Through the tealeaf haze, some sense was made… 

  • Entry into the field of stage management within the festival industry needs to be investigated. Discussions with SMs and their route into the industry and required skills. This also needs to include the transference of skills from theatre based courses, which also needs to be defined. Possible inclusion of comparison of company structure-theatre versus festival. Define roles.
  • How much effect does lack of festival specific courses for stage management have on progression into festivals?  Are qualifications of lesser importance for progression into industry than word of mouth?
  • Festivals are a growth industry, reports available for validation via quantitative research. Lack of industry specific courses must have an effect on the staffing abilities. Would production managers prefer graduates or are they managing just fine by word of mouth?
  • Is the lack of training perpetuating the who you know, not what you know method of professional progression?

And there you have it, the progress made over a few cups of tea. I foresee a busy spider diagram being created shortly, with the first of a thousand words being typed soon afterwards. It’s far from complete I know, but I’m feeling confident I have a good basis of areas and research methods available to form a good argument. I’m still very much in the same area as my original idea, I’m just refining it a little further. Professional progression from a theatre based graduate course into the festival industry was always going to figure in my dissertation, now it’s got a bit more meat to it and plenty for me to work with, I’m quite excited. I’m still bricking it, but I’m looking forward to answering the question and using the answers to progress into the festival industry after graduation. Yep, definitely no uncertainty over the rationale.