Sunday, 15 April 2012

University Challenge

I have always harboured a secret desire to be an Oxbridge university student.

If my A-Level English tutor is reading this I expect him to scoff and wonder why I fought so vigorously against his advice in 1999 and headed straight to drama school instead.  Well I was blinded by dance routines and showstopping ballads Mr Long!  But I now see, with the luxury of hindsight, that you were right as I find it increasingly hard to apply for Journalism jobs without those precious qualifications.

But back to my University aspirations; I have to admit that they are not purely intellectual.  I am a romantic at heart, seduced by sunshine and such idylls (it drives my “down to earth” boyfriend nuts!) so it is the lifestyle surrounding the Oxford and Cambridge universities for which I yearn.  Not 2-4-1 vodka redbulls in a local Wetherspoons or rallies about world peace but I dream of cycling around a beautiful city on a bike with a basket full of intelligent literature wearing a blazer and brogues!  Just like an extra in the Inspector Morse TV series!

And this week a small part of my dream came true as Avenue Q descended on The Arts Theatre in Cambridge.  The first thing I did was hire a bicycle; pedalling between my digs (a gorgeous family home with homemade bread and granola – oh yes!) and the theatre and using it to explore the stunning city.  My fellow company members nicknamed me “Granny Danny” as they watched me wobble off after the show but did anyone else discover Granchester Meadows where Lord Byron once roamed before diving into what is now known as Byron’s Pool across the fields?  No, I think not!  But this is coming from a lady who asked for National Trust membership for my 30th and is happily old before my time!

My hire bike was fairly basic so I did suffer from a bruised backside for a week but it was worth it to indulge my lost dreams.

As for work; the theatre was lovely but teeny tiny.  All our dressing rooms were underground and opened into a green room communal area; it was like being in the Big Brother house.  With a lack of oxygen and natural light we microwaved our dinners and slowly went delirious in our own company.  As the wing-space backstage was so tight our crew ended up taping huge pieces of foam onto the walls because we had a habit of exiting the stage and running straight into them in our haste– a step closer to proving my point that a touring lifestyle is akin to an asylum.  Padded walls, no natural light and the same 20 people day in and day out (I have even had electric shocks via my acupuncture from the physio, remember? See my blog “where did those balls fall.”) - all we are missing are strait-jackets. Talk about a university town challenge.

But I am not one to bite the hand that feeds me, without this tour I wouldn’t be experiencing all these parts of the UK and getting to pretend I am a Cambridge undergraduate!  We’re in Oxford in two weeks and I’m taking my own bike complete with basket– a Masters Degree here I come!

1 comment:

  1. Daniella, I just want to tell you that you are a wonderful actress and - surprisingly - a brilliant writer! I saw you in Avenue Q last week and you were hilarious. You're also one of the hottest women I've seen onstage for years, so congratulations there too ;)