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Chance to shine

Thanks to cultivating relationships with the likes of the BBC, the University of Hull is offering students the chance to seize some amazing creative opportunities.  

19th May 2017

Katrina Rae, a second year Drama and Music student, was picked to perform recently on BBC Introducing, a showcase for new music. Gathering together talented students like Katrina, as well as inspirational Music staff, the show broadcast live from the top class music studios which are part of the £9.5 million Middleton Hall redevelopment. 

Katrina played a set of her own material, but whereas usually she’d perform solo with just her guitar, she collaborated with classical music students, giving her songs a completely different sound. 

On the back of her performance she’s got a gig as part of BBC Radio 1’s Academy in the run to its Big Weekend in Hull.  

Inspirational opportunities like these were what convinced Katrina to come to the University of Hull in the first place. From just outside Hull, she’d initially planned to move away and had offers from universities around the country.  

But everything changed when she visited the Hull campus.  

She said:

“I came to an open day at Hull and immediately wanted to come here. The staff, the facilities, everything was amazing. I withdrew from all my other offers and just applied to Hull – it was a big risk but I am so glad I did it. I can’t believe the opportunities I’ve had, like the chance to perform at things like the Radio 1 Academy."

As a gigging musician, who plays at events like Hull’s Humber Street Sesh and the Cottingham Springboard Festival, Katrina says her studies have really helped her improve her live performances.  

"I’m really inspired by the lecturers here. Not only are they really supportive of you as an individual, they are also performers – they know what it’s like to write and play your own material because they do it themselves."

"They respect you as a musician with your own style, and teach modules in things like songwriting which help me develop and be a better performer outside uni too."

She added:

“Being able to work with students who perform different styles of music – like collaborating with the classical music students for BBC Introducing – has really broadened my horizons when it comes to my own material too. If I wasn’t here, I would never have thought of having strings on my songs but it really worked!” 

The Academy is organised by BBC Radio 1 and BBC Learning and provides a week of inspiring free events in Hull aimed at helping young people kick-start their careers in the creative industries. As well as opportunities for live performances by up and coming talent like Katrina, there’s also big name gigs by the likes of Bastille as well as live broadcasts by Radio 1 DJs. Plus, there’s a week of masterclasses with industry experts from everyone from BBC sports presenters to pop stars. 

Held in Hull as part of the Hull UK City of Culture 2017 celebrations, the Academy also provides the perfect warm-up to Radio 1’s Big Weekend – a two-day sell-out festival showcasing some of the biggest names in pop, from Katy Perry to Emeli Sande, Kasabian to Kings of Leon. 

Also showcasing their amazing skills are: 

  • Olivia Haw won a scholarship to hone her theatrical skills after being part of the National Student Drama Festival, held at the University of Hull this year. Olivia also performed in Weathered Estates, a production by Hull graduate theatre company Roaring Girls. 
  • Students worked with Hull’s Maritime Museum to create a lifelike audiovisual installation of a mighty Bowhead whale to bring the city’s whaling history to life. More than 90,000 people visited the Bowhead exhibition as part of Hull 2017.  
  • Students and graduates are part of Hull’s amazing line-up of festivals this year including AssemblefestHumber Street Sesh and Freedom Festival.  
  • And the University’s Chapel Choir, made up of students and directed by lecturer Dr Simon Desbruslais performed classical music live on BBC Radio 3 as part of the Uprooted Festival in March. 

Radio 1’s Academy runs from 21st - 25th May 2017 and more details on tickets and guests are available online.  

The Radio 1 Big Weekend is on 27 and 28 May. A full line-up and broadcasting details are available on the BBC website