Three drama graduates have been so inspired by their Kingston degree studies that they have launched their own theatre company. Anni Rhodes, Charlotte Johnson and Nicola Stockley have joined forces to take a range of original work to the stage. Performing as the Why’rd Theatre Company, they have already earned critical acclaim for their production of Hidden Identity, one of the highlights of the Think in Kingston festival in March.
Ms Rhodes, who has penned the company’s first productions, still finds it hard to believe the direction her life has taken. After raising her family and running her own business, she enrolled at Kingston intent on majoring in English. However, a chance visit to the School of Performance and Screen Studies’ Reg Bailey Theatre during her first day on campus put paid to those plans. Before she knew it, she was setting to work on a drama degree.
The three Why’rd members formed a firm friendship during the course of their studies. “We performed in nooks and crannies all over campus which provided a wonderful opportunity to hone our technique and were even part of a production at the Edinburgh Festival,” Ms Rhodes said. “Belonging to the Performance Initiative Network run by Kingston with a group of partner London universities also gave us tremendous scope to develop our work.”
The Head of the University’s School of Performance and Screen Studies, Frank Whately, is not surprised the trio has moved on to the professional circuit with such ease. “Anni, Charlotte and Nicola are among Kingston’s best drama graduates and I’m confident their talent will see them make a name for themselves in acting circles,” he said.
The company members are now gearing up for their next performances during the Leatherhead Drama Festival this month. Meanwhile, Ms Rhodes is also immersed in writing her fourth script, a children’s play the company hopes to take on tour around schools.