Audrey Xiarui Corno
Tell us your Faust Story!
I have Mr Andy Burt to thank for my entire Faust story (actually, my entire theatre story), who is one of Faust’s greatest Group Leaders. He was my drama teacher throughout secondary school and he told his IGCSE class he needed a lighting assistant, which I volunteered myself for. This turned out to be for the 2017 production of King Lear, where I learnt how to design and plot lights for the first time, and developed friend crushes on the entire cast. I was invited back to help with all things technical and backstage for that year’s Faust Festival, where I called the lights for all the shows in Y-Square, which was such an amazing experience that I still think back to this day. Keon was INSANE for giving me that much responsibility but I lived for it. From there, I got roped into the Faust community and was very lucky to begin acting workshops with Stage Group and performed in a few productions!
What is your earliest Faust memory?
This probably doesn’t count because I was nowhere near being in Faust, but I just remember seeing the posters all over the city and wishing I could be in Faust so bad since I was a kid. I had started dance and was told to commit to that rather than begin something new, but I’m so glad I found my way to Faust in the end anyway.
What is your favourite Faust memory?
My favourite Faust memory is bowing after the opening night of Peter Pan & Wendy. That moment is probably the foundation of my confidence as a performer. I had worked so hard in rehearsals and enjoyed the first performance to the fullest. I remember milking every moment on stage and every second backstage was counting down to when I’d go back on. The feeling of finally holding Wendy’s hand and taking our first bow together to a packed audience was nothing short of magical.
What was your biggest challenge in participating in drama workshops and productions?
My biggest challenge was maintaining focus in the other areas of my life in that time. Faust had me completely in love with everything theatre – I remember at one point I was working as an assistant workshop leader multiple times a week, was in two productions and was training with Stage Group, and got involved with anything tech as much as I could. This meant I had little down time and had to work extra hard to maintain my grades, but this taught me invaluable time management skills which is fundamental to me freelancing now!
What did you gain from your experience at Faust as a student and / or as a leader?
Everything…? It gave me a consistent community full of people who love the same thing as I do. Every single staff member at Faust was dedicated to my development, and I knew it at the time. It was so safe and my friends and I all blossomed here. The opportunities we were given to perform were immense! Shoutout to Matt, Clara, Jonquil, Jo, Jaime, and Keon of course.
The biggest gift, however, was the assistant workshop leader opportunity. I was so fortunate to get facilitation experience at such a young age, being able to lead warm-ups and activities with the younger Faust students. It ignited (another) passion and I now spend a lot of my time in the UK teaching drama to young children, running drama sessions for adults with learning disabilities and intervening in schools with theatre in education sessions. I was given a massive leg up not just in university but also in seeking employment here because I began doing this so young with Faust.
How did studying Drama and Theatre impact your life?
I don’t know how to say this without being really corny. Tt was my channel of expression… I made some really good friends … It gave me so much confidence … It gave me all the professional transferrable skills … and I’ve made it my career now 😊
How would you describe Faust to someone new to drama and theatre?
Faust is the PERFECT place to start.