Tom Payne's Posts (8)

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Forging connections!

We recently hosted a dynamic networking event at the Performance Lab that brought together an inspiring mix of creative minds from our BA (Hons) Acting and Performance, BA (Hons) Film & Media Production, and MA Filmmaking programmes. This event was a remarkable success, with the exchange of ideas, the forging of connections, and the promise of exciting collaborative projects. 


The evening showcased an impressive range of film projects set to unfold in the coming year. Our filmmakers, brimming with ingenuity, presented diverse film concepts. From uproarious comedies to heartfelt dramas, spine-tingling thrillers to enigmatic dark films, the event was a testament to creative storytelling.


What made the evening particularly special was the lively mingling of actors and filmmakers. Students from various programmes connected, shared ideas, and developed new friendships. The potential for collaborative ventures was tangible, and many exchanged contact details, setting the stage for future partnerships.


We're excited to reintroduce our Acting and Performance Online Community. This thriving platform acts as a central hub for casting calls, job opportunities, and industry discussions. We encourage all attendees to join, transforming it into a primary resource for actors, filmmakers, and industry enthusiasts at Hallam. Our aim is to nurture collaboration and communication that extends beyond the event.


The networking event's success underscores the incredible talent and potential within our university. It hints at the beginning of something extraordinary. The projects that will emerge from these connections will not only shape your academic journey but also lay the foundation for promising careers in the world of film and performance.


As we move forward, let's maintain the creative sparks and continue supporting one another. The journey has just begun, and we can't wait to witness the incredible stories you'll bring to life, the characters you'll embody, and the worlds you'll create.


Thanks to everyone who attended. Together, let's shape the future of filmmaking and performance.



Stay creative, stay connected, and stay inspired.

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A Year In Review and What To Expect Next

Last year was a rollercoaster for all of us. It’s hard to believe that 2022 has come to an end and that we’re already well into the new year. As we reflect on the past twelve months, we’re filled with gratitude for our Acting and Performance community here at Sheffield Hallam University and all that we’ve accomplished together: staff, students, collaborators, and our recent graduates 🎓👏👏.

From those early days in January last year when our then level 6 students eagerly set to work on their final projects for the Change Makers festival, to our powerful production of Chris Bush’s Pericles, directed by Dr. Fraser Stevens and presented at Sheffield Theatres in October for Off the Shelf Festival of Words, we’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with so many amazing people and we’ve performed for incredibly diverse audiences.

We rounded the year off in December with a brilliant whole degree showcase featuring comedy, drama, and our spectacular collaboration with Stand and Be Counted Theatre company, which saw our Level 5 students occupy the bus interchange with the radical protest performance Enough! Check out this powerful video from the production! 

As we look to the year ahead, we’re excited to continue growing our student community and hope to build on the successes that have made us one of the top-ten universities in the UK for our subject.* That’s an achievement we should all feel proud of and it should give confidence to our final-year students as they prepare to take their next steps after university. We can’t wait to see what their future holds – but for now, we’re excited about the next part of our journey together.

What we've accomplished

From taking over the stage at the Crucible to dazzling audiences with brilliant onscreen performances for Screen Yorkshire, we’ve achieved so much together in the past twelve months. We watched proudly as our recent graduates collected their degrees in November, and we’ve worked with theatre companies from around the world to create unique multimedia experiences, whilst others of us have stepped outdoors and created spectacular performances in public spaces. 

We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve said goodbye to old friends and we've also welcomed some new faces, including new members of our teaching team, including Dr. Fraser Stevens, Dr. Sophie Swoffer, and Terry O’Connor from Forced Entertainment. Together, with myself, Dr. Sophie Bush, Dr. Kate Johnson, Neil Sissons, and Ashley Barnes, we’re continuing to develop our undergraduate training program so that we can provide more pathways for emerging talent to learn and grow.

Above all else, it’s been thrilling to see so many budding performers take to the stage and discover their own stories while the team has worked with them behind the scenes to help shape their personal narratives as future makers. 


Pericles show photography by Becky Payne. 

What's next?

As we move into the new year, we’re looking forward to capitalizing on the creative spirit that we’ve seen in 2022. We’re passionate about expanding our audiences and empowering our students to use acting and performance as a tool for social change.

We’ll be discovering new ways to create immersive experiences, from unusual bus journeys and creative conversations to virtual exhibits and interactive performances. We believe that the most powerful stories have yet to be written, and we’re committed to creating an environment that helps our students to bring those stories to life.

We’re also excited to launch a series of workshops and learning opportunities for our teaching team so that we can share knowledge with one another and the public, and work together to improve our craft. 

Keep your eyes and ears open – because amazing things are coming very soon, including news of Change Makers festival 2023!

* The Best UK Universities for Drama and Dance - the Guardian League Table.

Level 6 Acting and Performance group photo by the author (see top image). 

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We’re recruiting now for September and we’re looking for all kinds of people to bring their experience with them and to develop new skills as they work collaboratively to make exciting acting & performance projects as part of the degree.
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Hello, and welcome to Sheffield Hallam University! My name is Tom Payne and I'm the Course Leader for the BA (hons) Acting and Performance. 

It's not long since we said a fond farewell to students who have been with us since September 2017, and now we're busy finalising preparations for the coming academic year. As one year group departs, a new cohort of students are set to arrive. I'm really looking forward to meeting all of our new Level 4 recruits as they begin their journey on the recently designed BA (hons) Acting and Performance: an industry facing degree that places 'acting', 'performing', and 'change making' at its core. 

The University's mission is simple: it aims to transform lives. And this is something that we take very seriously as a course team, not only by shaping our students' futures and preparing them for life after graduation, but also by creating knowledge through research and industry partnerships that provide practical solutions to some of the world's greatest challenges.

In the first year of the degree students can expect to learn acting and technical skills in audio, screen, and ensemble performance. They will also engage with industry partners, with the aim of responding to commissions that have real world value and impact. And they will begin the process of developing a professional portfolio that they will be encouraged to populate over the course of the degree, in preparation for graduation and whatever awaits them on their journey after their time with us. 

In the final year of their degree, they will take part in Change Makers festival, a new, outward facing showcase event that our new Level 5s have been busy developing in the last academic year in partnership with Theatre Deli. Change Makers festival will provide a platform for our students to present innovative new work, some of which will engage with issues of social justice and creative ways of making change through theatre and performance. 

While much teaching will be online, we've got some exciting face-to-face practical work planned too. We're also keen to use digital methods to ensure that there are social opportunities for students from across the year groups to meet up online. With this in mind, our Level 6 students are busy organising a regular 'scratch night', where there will be an opportunity to get involved and share short, fun, informal, work-in-progress performances. The first of these will be online on the first Wednesday in October (that’s the 7th), and then others will follow on the first Wednesday in November and December. The organising team will be announcing details soon, so watch out for that!

The course team (myself, Henry, Neil, Kate, Sophie, Dani, and Hayley) are really looking forward to getting to know you. You can find out a bit more about us here. We're keen that you settle in quickly and comfortably, and to help with that, you will be allocated an Academic Advisor. These will be Dani and Neil, and there will be an opportunity to meet them online in induction week.

Our website features lots of information about the course, so if you're joining us this September, I encourage you to take time to have a look. There are lots of photos and videos of the work that we have made in the past in the 'projects' section, see here.

In the meantime, feel free to join me on this online community where you can take part in the course conversation. Create an account, set up a profile and say hello! Follow the link top right.

See you at Induction!


(Course Leader, BA Acting & Performance) 





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Filming for Everybody Loses

Last weekend I spent a few days with filmmaker Sam Christie who is an Associate Lecturer in Film at SOLENT University in Southhampton. We were shooting a short video series that is part of a performance that I have been making called Everybody Loses: The Death Diary of Karl Patterson Schmidt. It's based upon the true story of a world famous herpetologist (snake doctor) who was bitten whilst examining a Boomslang Snake at the Chicago Field Museum in the 1950s and over the course of the next 24 hours documented his own death. There are parallels between Schmidt's fate and our current environmental crisis. The pre

The premiere of the performance is on 23 November at Aberystwyth Arts Centre, mid-Wales. The video project and performance have been created as a response to the United Nations Climate Talks which are currently underway in Bonn, Germany.

Here are a few photographs from the day by Sheffield based photographer Becky Payne. 










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Marie Roget at The Winter Gardens

Rehearsal photograph by Elizabeth Pennington. Performers left to right, Clarke Bannerman, Amy Blake and Amelia-Daisy Phair.

On Saturday 21 October a small group of SHU Performance students will present a performed reading of a new version of The Mystery of Marie Roget by Edgar Allen Poe especially for the Off The Shelf Festival. This 45 minute version of the text, entitled Marie Roget, has been adapted by UK/Australian performance company Doppelgangster as part of a Research and Development project.

The performance begins at 1pm and the audience may come and go as they please. For more information please visit the Off The Shelf Festival website.

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