Want to know what life is like at ICTheatre? Well, look no further. In this series I’ll be speaking to different students at ICTheatre, to discuss their experience of being a part of the #ICTheatreMovement. First up we have second year Devin Juraj, studying Performing Arts at our Brighton Campus.
“Hi! I’m Devin Juraj, I’m a singer, dancer and actor, originally from Pula, Croatia. Since 2012 I’ve been a dancer and have since transitioned into many different forms of art. I’ve been an active musician for a year and am currently finishing my second year at ICT on the Performing Arts course. I’m a very determined and driven person who is always looking ahead. I strive for creative freedom, and this can easily be seen through my creations.”
Devin moved from Croatia to Brighton to join ICTheatre, and it’s safe to say it was a big change to make. Not only did he have to adapt to the new culture and lifestyle of being in a new country, but he also had to adapt to living alone for the first time – not easy when you’re a whole country away from your family.
“The change has shown me that there aren’t as many things to fear in life, as long as you stay alert and learn to actually use your head.” Although English is one of Devin’s three native languages, he never had to use it academically until joining ICTheatre, which proved to be another challenge that was both exciting and scary.
Devin found the transition to Brighton life slightly difficult; a drama school timetable is very full-on, and he found at first he wasn’t quite living the student life he expected. He is also a very dedicated student, which at first led him to burn himself out from working too hard – but that first year taught him a lot about perseverance and time management.
ICTheatre has helped teach Devin that one of the most important things about being a performer is staying true to yourself. Knowing what you like and dislike will make sure you stay on a path that fills you with passion, and that is what will make your performances excel.
“I’ve realised I can only be the very best version of myself. I will never be something that I’m not, so there is no point pursuing those options that don’t bring joy.”
His ICTheatre highlight so far was rehearsing to perform at Move It in 2020, with rehearsals run by Head of Dance Amanda Schofield and choreographer Alice Rhodes.
“It was a long journey with many ups and downs, but I loved working towards our goal. Knowing that we were going to perform on the big stage in front of so many people and representing ICTheatre was an honour.” Unfortunately, the group never got to perform at Move It because of the COVID pandemic, but the rehearsal experience was incredible nonetheless.
Even though Musical Theatre isn’t the area Devin wants to further his career in – his studies still helped him build on those lessons of learning to stay true to your own performance style, and the workload taught him the importance of time management and taking care of yourself during busy periods.
Being extremely dedicated to his career, Devin has always done what he can to further his skills and find his pathway in the performance world. Discovering his passion for music was a real turning point. “Music fulfils me in a way I’ve never experienced before because it puts me in so many roles at once, and helps me tell the many stories I’ve always wanted to share with the world.”
He released his first original song in 2019, and since then he’s continued to develop his technique and style, creating results he’s very happy with. He writes in both Croatian and English – he likes to write for his native audience but wants to branch into English as well.
His most recent song ‘Lakše ću Preboljeti’ has already reached over 200,000 views on youtube and is a project Devin is incredibly proud of. Not being able to speak Croatian myself, I had to get Devin to explain the piece. “Lakše ću Preboljeti roughly translates to “It will be easier to get over with”, the song was inspired by the many sudden changes in my life and how nothing is certain.”
“Although it is a ballad and the lyrics can be interpreted as affectionate love towards another person, it’s more about having to leave your love for something or someone behind because life has chosen a different path for you. The music video directly reflects this as it symbolises two very different parts of my life. I’m immensely proud of this video because I came up with the concept and storyboard myself, contacted the venues and contracted the Videographer, Dancer and Choreographer myself.”
The project was Devin’s baby, and he made sure to work with people he trusted to get the job done. They only had six hours in the studio to complete the video, so his team had to be reliable in completing their jobs – which you will find is the that the industry works.
Devin has also been hard at work rehearsing to perform a Eurovision song with Croatian singer Albina! “I got a call from the choreographer on Christmas eve; she specified that she needed someone who was up for a big task and I was one of the dancers she thought of, and I’m insanely grateful for that! The experience is hard to describe and I can barely imagine what it’s going to be like 3500 people in the audience plus a few million watching at home, so nothing too stressful! I’m grateful because not only do I get to perform at Eurovision, but I’ve also met a lot of inspiring people who have shared a ton of useful advice for my music career.”
ICTheatre supports it’s students when opportunities like this one arise, so Devin has been studying virtually from Croatia while continuing his rehearsals.
“This last period before Eurovision has been a tad stressful, but I know ICTheatre has got my back!”.
Music videos, Eurovision rehearsals and original song releases – the fun never stops when you know what goal you’re reaching for. I asked Devin what he sees himself achieving in the future.
“I don’t like to think too far into the future as we all know life likes to take its own path, regardless of what we do. I’m definitely staying in music as it’s been an absolute dream come true; I get to create and tell stories for anyone willing to listen. I’m most excited for when we get to perform live as I’m planning on employing dancers for any live performances I do and to give back to my roots.
Until then, I’m training. Music, acting and dance are the pillars that keep my heart beating so I cannot imagine a life without these things, and I stand firm that each cannot exist without the other.”
My last question – what do you hope to have achieved by the end of your three years at ICTheatre?
“Mainly to stay true to myself. I love to train and to hone my skills, and my final goal is to leave ICTheatre with an arsenal of tools, ready for whatever the world throws at me.”
Devin is an excellent example that knowing who you are and what your goals are make it easy to make your dreams a reality. The combination of consistent training through ICTheatre and real-life experience working in the industry is helping him grow into an all-around superstar, and we can’t wait to see where his career will progress. Watch another one of Devin’s original songs Toxic Love below.
Has reading Devin’s story inspired you to grab hold of your dreams and study a course at ICTheatre? If yes, find out more HERE.
Author: Charley Morgan, ICTheatre Graduate 2020