Today I am going to talk about the arts at the University of Bath. As I mentioned in my original introductory post, I have done a lot of performing arts, and that is something which is really important to me, and which I took into consideration when deciding which universities to apply to. Bath may not seem like an obvious choice for someone who is very into the arts, as it is primarily a science university, and doesn’t offer any related subjects. However, we are really lucky at Bath, as despite not offering any arts degrees, the university runs an arts organisation called the Institute of Contemporary Interdisciplinary Arts to cater for those students who, like me, are interested in the arts, as well as the wider community
The ICIA has quite a broad remit – it runs weekly classes that you can sign up for, as well as one off workshops, performances etc, in dance, theatre, music, and visual arts. I’m really excited, as in a few weeks the ICIA’s brand new dedicated arts building will be opening, which includes a theatre, dance studio, music practice rooms, and all sorts of other things, which will be a really fantastic facility for us to use.
The ICIA has a number of staff 'Arts Ambassadors' who review shows that take place at the ICIA- to find out details and read their great reviews visit the Arts Ambassadors webpage.
This semester I took a 9 week course of ballet classes, and had individual singing lessons, both through the ICIA. Classes are subsidised for students at the University of Bath, which is brilliant, as it makes things that might be out of the price range of a typical student, such as weekly private instrumental lessons, affordable. I really enjoyed both – so much so that I have already booked for the ballet next semester, and will be booking the singing as soon as booking opens. I am particularly looking forward to doing ballet in the new ICIA dance studio – we were off campus this semester, and although it was fine, it wasn’t like having a brand new, purpose built dance studio to take class in. I’m thinking about booking either jazz or contemporary as well, but I need to work out my schedule for next semester first before I get carried away and commit to more things than I can fit in!
Classes run by the ICIA are open to people of all levels – in ballet for example there are 4 different ability classes, from complete beginner through to advanced, and with the instrumental lessons you can take something you have a lot of experience like I did, but equally you can start something from scratch. I think it’s really great that the university offers that, as some places I looked at only offered subsidised instrumental tuition for people above a certain level or who auditioned successfully etc, so it’s fantastic to have the option of getting involved regardless of your experience, or lack of.
As well as everything offered by the ICIA, there are lots more arts opportunities at the university offered through student societies, run by the SU. For a complete list of arts societies have a look at the SU website, and you can browse other societies and clubs on offer as well whilst you’re there. I have been involved in BodySoc this semester – they don’t run regular classes like the ICIA, but they do weekly workshops in different dance styles, so that’s a good option if you want to dance but don’t want to commit to regular classes. They also enter competitions against other universities, for which teams are auditioned, and put on shows, which anyone can sign up to be in with no need to audition. I successfully auditioned for the Advanced Ballet team, and we competed at Loughborough, along with Jazz, Tap, Hip hop, and Contemporary teams, which was really good fun.
The theatre groups, BUSMS (musicals) and BUST (plays), are equally busy, and again both offer both auditioned and non-auditioned opportunities to get involved. You can audition for a role in a play or a musical, but you can also be in the chorus for the musicals without auditioning, and there are various other shows put on that anyone can be involved in. CHaOS is the choral and orchestral society, and consists of a number of ensembles, again both auditioned and non-auditioned. I had a lot of fun earlier in the semester auditioning to be the singer for the Big Band – they held auditions from which they chose finalists, and we sung with the Big Band in a show called Big Band Idol, from which they chose their singer. I didn’t win, but I got through to the last part of the final, and it was a really fun night – everyone got all dressed up, and singing with the band was great fun. There are loads more arts societies that I haven’t personally had involvement with, so you are sure to be able to find something you’re interested in trying, whether you are a complete novice or very experienced.
As you can see, there are lots and lots of arts based things to get involved with at the University of Bath – I couldn’t cover it all in one blog post, as there is just too much going on, but I hope that it has given you some idea of the kind of activities on offer, both through the ICIA and the SU. I would definitely recommend Bath to people who are interested in the arts, as there really is a lot going on here, from classes and workshops run by experienced professionals, through to student run societies that give you the opportunity to perform, write, direct, choreograph, or anything else you may want to try!