On Tuesday 6th October, UV and Sixth Form students attended a lecture by the Royal Shakespeare Company actor, Clarence Smith. This was the second time that Clarence has visited us, after presenting the Awards at last year's Golden Lillies, but this event allowed him to share, at a much deeper level, his experiences of his development as an actor, and an increased awareness of his heritage.

In conversation with Duncan Ellis, Director of Drama, Clarence talked the audience through his journey, linking his professional progress to his exploration of the black British experience. In his recounting of playing the male lead in Romeo and Juliet at the Bristol Old Vic in the early 1990s, for example, he discussed the racism he encountered from the public, and his discovery of the history of Edward Colston in relation to black pioneers, such as the composer and activist Ignatius Sancho.

With the discussion punctuated with film clips and musical interludes, the speech was invigorating and revelatory, and received extremely well by the assembled students and staff. Clarence will be returning to St Mary's in his role as teacher and workshop leader, cementing a partnership which we expect to be extremely valuable for the St Mary's drama community.

Mr Duncan Ellis, Director of Drama