Emily laughes as her photo is taken

Together We Create

Emily Ayres explores collaboration while on the MA Performing Arts Course

18th March 2024

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As part of our MA Performing Arts course at our Essex campus, students complete a module entitled ‘Exploring Collaboration in the Performing Arts’. Student Emily Ayres worked with casting director Claire Cassidy from Debbie O’Brien Casting, who has worked on casting for shows such as Matilda, Annie, and new musical Kin.

We caught up with Emily to hear about her experience working with Claire on this module last semester.


For my collaborative working project, I wanted to work with a casting director, which led me to Claire Cassidy. We did mock-style auditions, working on myself as a performer and also examined all my assets to see what I needed to improve before entering the industry and auditioning for real. Then, using the footage from the session, we created a documentary-style video of the project.

I chose this project because I wanted to improve myself as a performer and get honest opinions about where I am currently and what I need to improve in the next few months.


Having an industry professional as my mentor helped me so much throughout the whole process. Claire was very complimentary about my strengths and helped me work on my weaker areas in a safe environment. She gave me so much information about the industry that I was as able to use in my project, and I’m sure I’ll use the information again once I’m working in the industry myself.

Emily and her mentor perform a scene. they're holding scripts


I learned that when working collaboratively, everyone wants the best from you and the best for the project: you are all working together to achieve the best results and working towards the same goals. It’s also important to be agile and able to adapt to new situations that might arise. If a change needs to be made, be open to that change because it could lead to something even better.


Firstly,  I’d reiterate how important it is to be open and adaptable. Communication is also key to a successful project. For example, if you are unsure of something its always best to raise it and ask necessary questions so everyone is on the same page. I’d also say don’t let nerves control you – one way to ensure that they don’t is preparation! Always come prepared as best you can. Not only will this be better for the project, but it’ll lessen the nerves you may be feeling!

Emily smiles during an MA lecture


This project has already impacted my future career as now I feel a lot more prepared than I did about going into the industry as a working professional. Also, Claire has given me agent recommendations to help me get a headstart in my career. Claire has been incredibly helpful and kind throughout the whole process. She has been incredibly supportive but also honest with me, which has helped me to grow as a performer. I hope to continue communication with Claire when I graduate, and throughout my future as a professional performer.

To discover more about Performers College, including auditions and how to apply, contact us at [email protected] or book onto our upcoming MA Performing Arts Open Evening now.


BIMM University

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