There is no doubt that the arts, cultural and entertainment industry has been hit hard by Covid-19. Harriet Fisher (OKS 2016) shares below the highs and lows of being a performer during the pandemic and her fantastic experiences performing around the globe!
“As a graduating arts student, the past year has obviously been less than ideal. I graduated from King’s College, Cambridge in 2020. Let me tell you, sending off your dissertation from the kitchen table does have a certain je ne sais quoi. My time at Cambridge, and King’s, was largely spent performing. Throughout my time at King’s, my fondest moments were spent with Clare Howden and Julia Middleton in drama lessons or rehearsing a production. In an academically charged arena, I always felt that drama was just as important, worthy and challenging.
My background in Drama undoubtedly helped me get into Cambridge. This was largely due to the fact the only reason I applied for university was because I was rejected by every drama school going. After a few months of devising a plan, it dawned on me that I actually had the grades to go to Oxbridge. I never considered, nor was considered by others, as the archetypal Oxbridge student. But my dramatic background, fostered by Clare, was my secret weapon. In my interviews, we ended up discussing our favourite comedian and the power of theatre. I was interviewing for Theology.
At Cambridge, it quickly became apparent that the ADC Theatre would be where you would find me. I partook in over 40 productions in my 3 years (2 ½ technically, thanks COVID), from large scale musicals to small gigs in pubs. When I first applied to Cambridge, Clare had reminded me of ‘The Cambridge Footlights’. Upon entering Cambridge, I knew I wanted to throw myself in at the deep end and get involved. By the first term of my second year, I had become a member of the Footlights and was performing in bi-weekly Footlights Smokers. In my time at Cambridge, the Footlights undertook a number of structural changes to tackle its lack of diversity and inclusion. This was something I was fortunate to witness, support and push for in my time with the Footlights.
As a Footlight, I was then cast as one of just five writer/performer’s in ‘The Footlight International Tour Show 2019: Look Alive!’. The tour meant we performed in venues in Cambridge, throughout the UK, the Edinburgh Fringe and across America. We even performed the show in the hallowed halls of a sold-out Vanbrugh, which was a night for the books. The highlight of the tour (besides the Vanbrugh!) was our Edinburgh Fringe one-month run at Pleasance. One evening we were all preparing for the show and our director, Noah, told us that we would have some very special guests in the audience; Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie. After idolising the Footlight’s since I was a little girl, it was ridiculous to be performing as a Footlight myself to the Fry and Laurie. If nothing else happens in my career, I’ll take that.
My time at Cambridge and King’s are full of so many weird, wonderful and formative moments, which were gifted to me as a result of my love for theatre, writing and performing. I am currently co-writing and directing a musical that we are taking to the Edinburgh Fringe this year (fingers crossed!), as well as writing a number of scripts ready for when the world opens up again. Like many of my aspiring performer friends, I am also tutoring/teaching/freelancing and dreaming.”
You can contact Harriet on firstname.lastname@example.org for any tutoring, teaching or theatre opportunities.