It’s week two in our new home and the place is buzzing with atmosphere. I was really excited about coming back, and for good reason: Smock Alley is fantastic. For instance, I opened a drawer in the kitchen yesterday at lunch time, found lots of cutlery in it, and I had a slightly ecstatic overreaction that drew some funny looks from the first years. I attempted to justify my excitement by describing just how cramped we were back in Sycamore Street when the school was overflowing with students and maybe the lucky ones got to stand in the hallway and stir black tea with a knife handle.

But that feels like years ago now that we have so much space- space to work, space to eat, space to hang out with everyone else, space to get the hell away from everyone else, space to use a computer, space to swing several cats if necessary…. it’s just amazing. And we have access to the Black Box theatre too, which will be a brilliant resource.

I am delighted to be one of the lucky students who got to experience life in both Sycamore Street and in Smock Alley. It makes the new school all the better to have something to compare it to. The only downside is that with all this space, we don’t get to see as much of the first years as we’d like. Last year, we were practically sitting on top of one another and playing leapfrog on the stairs, and so mingling with our second years was inevitable. We got to know them much faster. In the new school, mingling requires a bit more effort.
There’s a great sense of focus in the school right now. Everyone seems to be in a positive frame of mind. Even the resident ghosts seem thrilled to have their halls resonating with artistic life again! I can’t believe how quickly first year went. It feels good to be back but I know this year is going to go even faster, especially after the first term. The inevitable reality is that I’ll wake up one Sunday morning in June 2012 and I’ll be an unemployed actor. (With a wardrobe full of black clothes I won’t want to wear ever again!) But somehow that isn’t a frightening prospect to me. I feel privileged to be doing this, and I’m very excited about the year ahead, so bring it on!!
Laura McGuire – 2nd Year
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