Care (for your future) Cafe – A free chance to talk about life, art and community – 8 March-31 May

Lois Weaver and Air Supply with be hosting a weekly 

Lois Weaver
Lois Weaver

Care (for your future) Cafe

Pinter Studio in Arts One 

 5-7 pm every Wednesday  

8 March and running through to 31 May 

(with the exception of 18 and 26 April) 

We will be live and in person from 5- 7 in the Pinter but you can Zoom in from 6-7 if you can’t make it to Mile End.  

Email for the Zoom link. 

Care (for your future) Cafes are an opportunity for students, graduates, and artist friends to drop in and talk about life and livelihood. It is also an opportunity to get to know Air Supply, which is an informal collection of students and graduates who meet regularly to share support, resources, and their experiences of being independent artists and producers.  

Air Supply will be producing the Peopling the Palace Festival, Queen Mary University of London 5-11 June. 

Café Cafes are a place for people to gather – their wits, thoughts, and comrades in action. They are a temporary venue for communitas, conversation, and activity within a spoken and visible frame of ‘care’. 

Drama Alumni Event: Detritus: Live Art and Performance – Sat 26 November

Detritus: Live Art and Performance

Tension Fine Art, 135 Maple Rd, London SE20 8LP

26 November 2022

Detritus is a research project exhibiting Live Art and Performance across mediums and themes, to challenge what performance can and should be in gallery spaces. 

Join us at Tension Fine Art for a day of overlapping performances and artworks that explore liveness, bodies, and materials.

A mixture of experimental live and non-live artworks, broaching durational, interactive, and pre-recorded mediums. The live performances will begin and end on staggered start times, amongst a selection of video and installation, so from open until close there will be something to experience.

Engaging with a variety of topics, the artists navigate being witnessed by an audience in a gallery. Detritus as a project is an investigation into the politics of performing in these spaces, while the artworks comprising Detritus 2022 specifically consider bodies and liveness in this sphere. 

Updates at


Art Rabbit:

Participating Artists:

  • Indigo Ayling
  • Katherine Borchsenius
  • Laura Bradley
  • Jamie Genovese
  • Lisa-Marie Harris
  • Lammin
  • Jennifer Martin
  • Sal Morton
  • Carlota dos Santos
  • Dani Surname

Social Media Notes and Links

  • Indigo Ayling (they/them) – @gentle_human
  • Katherine Borchsenius (she/her) – @katherineborchsenius
  • Laura Bradley (they/she) – @laura_bradley_
  • ELOINA (she/her) – @eloinaaart
  • Jamie Genovese (he/him) – @jigenovese
  • Lisa-Marie Harris (she/her) – @lisa.marie.harris
  • Lammin (he/him) – @lammintheartist
  • Jennifer Martin (she/her) – @jnnifr.m
  • Sal Morton (they/them) – @sal.morton
  • PIANKA (she/her) – @piankamperformance_
  • Carlota dos Santos (she/her) – @carlotacfsantos
  • Dani Surname (she/he/they) – @DaniSurname

Hosted at @tensionfineart


Graduate Clera Rodrigues on Joining Queen Mary via Clearing, Becoming a Journalist and Getting a First Class Degree

We caught up with recent 2022 BA English and Drama graduate Clera to talk about her experience of studying at Queen Mary…

Tell us about your time at QMUL. What have been your highlights?

I’ve had a great time at Queen Mary. My biggest highlight was hosting a stall at the two Welcome Fairs on behalf of Diaspora Speaks magazine and getting to meet hundreds of people!

Tell us about your journey to Queen Mary coming via clearing?

I initially auditioned for Musical Theatre courses at “drama schools” during my gap year following my A Levels, but then had a change of heart and decided I wanted a more academic, general collegiate experience. I discovered the English and Drama course around the June ’19 Open Day, which I attended. I was intrigued by what I learnt and fell in love with the campus, clubs, and the buzzing energy. I contacted Shane Boyle (the academic hosting the Drama info session), made my case in a lengthy email, and was put in touch with relevant staff to begin an application through clearing. I received my acceptance decision reached in early July. And the rest is history.

How has your course at Queen Mary helped you to progress into the world outside? What’s next?

My course allowed me to hone my research and writing skills alongside developing numerous others such as teamwork, presentation, performance, and creativity. These skills are highly transferable and in demand. Up next for me is a Master of Journalism at the University of Southern California in June ’23!

Aside from course content what have been your favourite elements of the experience of studying here as a whole?

Student media outlets were certainly my favourite part of the experience. I loved writing, editing, and just being able to be published online and in print, alongside socialising with other like-minded students.

Tell us about your life outside Queen Mary including any projects, ambitions or jobs you’ve had.

Honestly, QMUL has so many opportunities that almost all my non-academic activities were QMUL-related. Beyond Queen Mary, I learnt French as a second language, undertook a pressed flower project in my art journal, and travelled for 2 months in summer 2021. I am currently building my personal brand as a professional journalist.

What could be improved to enhance future students’ experience at Queen Mary?

All classes, including lectures, must be held in-person on campus, utilising the numerous lecture halls and seminar rooms for QMUL to return to the standard student experience first of all. To enhance the standard experience, I would have loved the opportunity to travel abroad as I could not on my own.

Drama Alumnus Hugo Aguirre on Sky Arts’ The Big Design Challenge

Hugo Aguirre is one of the contestants on Sky Arts, which aired the first episode on Valentine’s Day 2022. Watch the series hosted by Lauren Laverne via the button below.

Hugo studied our Action Design module within the BA Drama programme with Jules Deering in QMUL and has an Instagram full of his inspiring work.

New Book ‘P’ from English Creative Writing Graduate David Mitchell

QMUL English and Creative Writing Graduate David Mitchell has a novella available for pre-order from The Plastic Brain Press under the pseudonym D Rudd-Mitchell. The Novella is called P and explores themes of enviroment, intolerence, history, information and status.

David was a member of the first English with Creative Writing cohort at QMUL  Details of his book are available from  

Since studying at QMUL David has also published poetry in magazines, a shared chapbook and the anthology Poems from a Green Blue Planet, which was A GUARDIAN CHILDREN’S BOOK OF THE YEAR 2019.  

English and Drama Graduation Ceremonies for class of 2020 and 2021

Bookings open now

The Queen Mary University of London Class of 2020 and Class of 2021 Graduation Ceremonies will be held at Tobacco Dock between Monday 10 and Friday 21 January 2022.

Bookings for your ceremony will open today. Bookings will open throughout the day today. Check the schedule to see the time bookings open for your ceremony.

You can view the entire ceremony schedule on our website. The schedule includes the date and time of each ceremony. Please read the schedule to check the date and time of your schools ceremony.

All booking information can be found on our website .
To book your ticket, guest tickets and gown, visit and type “Queen Mary University of London” into the search box, then press the ‘go button’.

Please note, you do not have to have received an email in order to book onto a January 2022 Graduation ceremony. 

All students need to book a place regardless of having sat exams or received results*. If you are unsure of your results status, please check with Student Records ( – receiving an email is not a guarantee you are eligible.Tickets and Gown HireAll students need to book a place regardless of having sat exams or receiving results*.

Any students wishing to attend must book onto graduation, any bookings made after the deadline are not guaranteed a place in the ceremony.

Any students wishing to attend must book onto graduation before the deadline of midday (UK time) on Monday 25 October . Please note that tickets are sold on a first come, first served basis and can be taken offline at any point. Book early to avoid disappointment.

Information for students eligible to collect two awards:
Due to the exceptional nature of these ceremonies, we understand some students may be eligible to receive two awards. If you are eligible to receive two awards at these ceremonies then please let us know by completing the relevant information when asked during the booking process for your graduation ceremony. For further information please visit the graduation website.

Your ticket to attend graduation is free-of-charge and guest tickets are priced at £25 each. Please note, tickets are strictly non-transferable between students. 

All students wishing to attend graduation must complete their booking before the deadline of midday (UK time) on Monday 25 October

*In cases of academic failure, please notify the Events & Ceremonies team by email and a full refund will be arranged. Please see our Terms & Conditions for refund details
Extra Guest Tickets You will be permitted to book two guest tickets initially, but you can also indicate a requirement for more guest tickets which will be noted against your booking. When booking closes at midday (UK time) on Monday 25 October , we will establish if there are any spare seats in your ceremony and notify you of the date they go on sale and how to book. If available, everyone will be given equal opportunity to purchase extra tickets, however they will be sold on a first come first served basis.

Extra guest tickets are not guaranteed. Please don’t make travel arrangements for guests until you have confirmed ceremony tickets for them.

For information about child tickets and live relay tickets, visit our website
Photographs You can book professional studio photography sessions when you book your gown and tickets.
Visa Letters We understand the postponement of graduation ceremonies will lead to the need for more students and their families to apply for re-entry and entry to the UK to attend their graduation ceremony. We have provided information on our website to assist students and their families in applying to enter the UK.
#QMULGrad Don’t forget to follow @QMUL on Instagram to keep up to date with information from the Events & Ceremonies Team ahead of your ceremony. You can get involved by using #QMULGrad Key information

Don’t forget that ticket booking will close at midday (UK time) on Monday 25 October.

If you have any questions around Graduation visit the FAQspage on our website. 

This email is not a guarantee that you will be eligible to graduate in January. If you are unsure, please contact the student administration team on: 020 7882 5005.

Our website has been updated with a great deal of information regarding all aspects of Graduation, please read all sections to learn more about tickets, gown hire, photographs, accommodation and answers to other frequently asked questions.

If you have relatives travelling from overseas for your ceremony, you can also request a Visa Letter on-line. Learn more about our exciting new graduation venue, Tobacco Dock!

Free Peopling the Palace Festival – Line Up Announced – 7-20 June 2021

Conducting conversation / Connecting Creatively / Creating Courageously / Courageously Carrying On / and Cabaret! / Come on and join us!

Peopling the Palace is a yearly festival of performance, workshops and events that showcases the work of Queen Mary academics, artists, current students and alumni. 

This year’s theme is care and features over 25 events from outrageous cabaret nights to a day exploring the rituals of care. In times of global unrest and pandemic, Peopling the Palace Festival, creates a space to explore how important caring about each other is. The festival tackles important contemporary issues of racial inequality, mental health, care provision, neurodivergence, art in a crisis, climate justice and aging.

All events are free to attend and open to all. Advanced booking required for all events. 

New Performance

  • I am Leah (13 June) A vital new play inspired by the stories of survivors of the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda. 
  • Dadders (19 June):  Escape to the Meadowdrome with acclaimed artists Daniel Oliver and Frauke Requardt (The Place, Latitude Festival) to delve into their experiences of neurodivergent parent. 
  • Last Gasp WFH (19 June): Playing with the fragility of technology, particularly the unpredictability of Zoom, the team found new avenues to the classic Split Britches (Lois Weaver and Peggy Shaw) aesthetic of broken down theatrical conventions, exposing the self on stage.
  • The Tempest in English and Spanish (17 June): This interactive experience explores how the arts can break the stigma around autism. 
  • The Possibility of Colour (12 June): Dystopian play about a new miracle cure and explores themes around mental health voice hearing, synaesthesia, neuro-diversity, Artificial Intelligence, privatised health and the illusion of choice.

Cabaret & Showcases

  • Alumni and Current Student Performance Showcase Nights (10,15 & 17 June): Be shocked, surprised and inspired when you support new artists and performers as they show their latest works.  
  • Her-Pees (9 June) a comfortable, inclusive, and questioning performance night ahead of their Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club Debut. 
  • Friday Night In (Film Night) (11 June): A small screen celebration of work from QMUL students, alumni, staff and other exciting filmmakers.
  • Cossy Fanny Tooty Cabaret (16 June): A cheeky performance cabaret curated by Vivian Harris. 

Workshops, Conferences & Conversations

  • A Queer Climate Justice Workshop (16 June) by Queen Mary Theatre Company in the lead up to a new show, The Cabaret at the End of the World.
  • Free Creative Skills Workshops (14-15 June) to help QMUL students and the community get into the creative industries with Creative Skills Academy. 
  • Workshop on Writing Race (16 June) for sixth-form students with acclaimed artist Vanessa MacAulay. 
  • Enlightening Conversations and Conferences: ‘Women, Theatre, Criminal Justice’ with Clean Break, ‘Making During States of Emergency’, ‘Cults, Conspiracy and Pseudoscience’, ‘Mental Health and the arts’ and ‘How do Universities Care for Students Learning’.

Check out the full programme and book free tickets: 

Practice in a Pandemic: Drama Alumni Panel – 17 March

Felicity Bush our careers consultant along with Lois Weaver and Cat Fallow have put together this amazing event for drama students at QMUL.

Practice in a Pandemic: a Queen Mary Drama alumni panel – login to Target Connect to Book

On Wednesday 17th March, 5.30-7pm, we are holding a live online panel discussion of Drama alumni working in the theatre.

This event will give you the opportunity to hear about the career journey and experiences of our brilliant panellists, how they have adapted in the past year, and gain their advice about actions you can take now to build your career during the pandemic. 

This session will not be recorded – please come along with your questions to the live event! Book your place here!


  • Beth Watton – Artistic Director at Poplar Union. Graduated from Queen Mary with MA Theatre and Performance, 2018.
  • Charlotte Potter, Freelance Producer; Marketing and Production Manager at COLAB Theatre Productions; Social Media Manager at Jury Games; Manager at Escape Rooms. Graduated Queen Mary with MA Theatre and Performance 2019.
  • Ellie Simpson, Producer at Pleasance Theatre. Graduated from Queen Mary with BA English and Drama 2009.
  • Lucy Dear – Applied Theatre Practitioner, currently working with Young Vic Theatre and Southwark Playhouse. Graduated from Queen Mary with BA Applied Drama, 2006.

Book your place here!

Vote to Help Alumna Franciska Éry’s Nominated Production of Hamlet Get Recognised in the 2020 Highlights of Hungary

Vote to Help Franciska get recognised. Voting starts on 4 Feb 2021 (today) and will be open for two weeks. Here is the link: The show is listed in the last category as ‘Nagyerdei Stadion – Hamlet

We caught up with Franciska and here’s what she said…

About her nomination

“I am writing to you because I directed a socially distanced Hamlet last summer and it has been named as one of the top 55 creative achievements in 2020 by Highlights of Hungary. I am incredibly happy as this was my first time directing in my home country in my mother tongue, and it was especially difficult to create a show in the middle of the pandemic that was safe for audiences and creatives/cast alike. 

The nomination itself is a huge honour, but this week Highlights of Hungary will open their voting system to the public, and it would mean a lot to me if my QMUL community could help me get Hamlet to the finish line.

About Hamlet:

“Hamlet is a 80-minute long reduced version of Shakespeare’s classic. We also added our own texts and even a Hungarian poem – it is very much the company’s version. In the first half of the performance the audience is sitting outside the Stadium of Debrecen, while the performers are inside the building behind glass. The audience listens to the actors’ mics through headphones, safely distanced from each other. In the second half of the show the actors leave the building and the show turns into a promenade performance outside the stadium, ending with the fencing scene in the stadium’s concourse. It is a piece about responsibility, death, grief and feeling stuck, which resonated with a lot of our audiences. Here is a trailer to give you a taste of the show:

We received great reviews, sadly all in Hungarian:)

About Highlights of Hungary:

“Every year Highlights of Hungary nominates 55 creative achievements in the country without categories. This year the line-up includes the National Ambulance Service, Lili Horváth’s award-winning movie which will probably be Oscar nominated, and many other achievements in sports, community service, environmentalism, innovation and architecture, to name a few. The aim is to celebrate achievements without labels and competition, to raise awareness and connect people across sectors. This is the Csokonai National Theatre’s first time being nominated.

I will be shouting from the rooftops on Twitter at @Franciska_E if anyone wants to come and support. Our hashtags are #vitrinhamlet #hamletinheadphones. As an English and Drama graduate, QM has been a huge influence on the way I work and the way I see performance. If there is interest I am happy to talk more about this and the challenges of making socially distant work if that is of any interest for current students.

Thank you so much for supporting us. Let’s celebrate something that happened in this very bleak 2020.



Careers Sessions for SED Students in Semester 2 – 2021

There’s some unmissable events coming up for you to get valuable insight and develop your confidence in these uncertain times.

  • Media & Creative Industries Summit

Thursday 28 January, 5.30 – 7pm

An online panel session of speakers in publishing, media and journalism, with the aim of helping students broaden their connections and knowledge within this field. Speakers – all alumni of SED – work at organisations including the BBC, Orion, Al Jazeera, and Sky.

Students can sign up for this event here:

  • Making the most of Semester B and finding opportunity in a challenging job market

Friday 29 January, 12-1pm

This is a talk exclusively for Humanities and Social Science students, particularly those not sure how to start or progress their career thinking and planning during Covid. This session will focus on the opportunities and events available right now to explore career options, make plans, and gain experience.

Students can sign up for this event here:

  • SED-exclusive workshop series in February

Tailored specifically to the SED cohort, this short series of three workshops aims to help students understand the skills they are gaining from their English and Drama degrees; make decisions about avenues they would like to explore and pursue; get an introduction to working for themselves (which may be of particular interest to those interested in a writing or arts career); and engage with ways of presenting themselves to prospective employers, connections, and clients.

They can find more information and sign up here:

Wednesday 3 February: SED Careers: Making choices:

Wednesday 10 February: SED Careers: Working for yourself:

Wednesday 17 February: SED Careers: Presenting yourself:

  • Humanities careers events in March

Starting off with online speed networking with QM Humanities alumni, this series of events aims to demonstrate to Humanities students the broad range of options available to them, and arm them with the knowledge and skills to allow them to follow their chosen path.

Further details are in PDF which you can download via the button below…

Don’t forget you can book careers appointments

Students can book appointments with Careers by calling 02078828533, and find resources, events and information on our website:

Interview: Tilly Bungard on her magazine FEAR NAUT made by women on boats

We are excited to catch up with Tilly Bungard about her magazine project Fear Naught, her work in diversity & inclusion and her time at Queen Mary studying Drama.

What are your best memories of your time at QMUL?

Like most Drama alumni, my fondest memories take place in the Pinter Studio, where most of our performances happened.

These vary hugely from the absolute terror (and then elation) of exam pieces to the hilarity of watching my housemates perform ridiculous sketches at the student run variety evening “Slappin’ da Bass”. It’s mad to think of what’s taken place over the years in that studio for so many students. There was a tradition for doing a slightly tipsy last run-through of QMTC plays the night before public performances opened to attempt to shed any nervousness of messing it all up on the night (to varying degrees of success).

   My absolute favourite night of the whole three years was during the “Performance Composition” module (if you’re a current Drama student, this is one you absolutely must sign up for). Run at the time by the wonderful Stacey Makishi, whose practice combines radical mutual openness with the bizarre and surreal.

During this module students performed 5-10 minutes solo shows every week to the public, providing a constant state of terror and adrenaline for everyone enrolled on it. On the last week, after the graded performances had been completed, we each performed “in the style of” one of our class mates, treading the fine line between caring for and honouring our peers’ creativity whilst performing some of the most bizarre pieces I’ve ever seen, to hilarious effect.

Tell us about Fear Naut. How did it come about and how can people get involved?

Fear Naut is a magazine conceived and created from start to finish by women who live on boats.

One year after graduating from QMUL I moved onto a narrow boat on in London, something many students will have considered living and studying right next to the Regents! It wasn’t exactly new to me, I was born on a barge in Bristol and have always worked on boats, but I loved it immediately. What I loved most were the people I met. The boating community is so supportive, caring and full of huge personalities. I found quickly that so many of us were creative in some way, but living on a boat is like a part time job, and so many of my friends rarely had the time to give their creativity the attention it deserved.

We stand for the empowerment of women and non-binary folk, strong community, DIY, and the freedom to live as you please. Boat women are creative, brave and independent. We have a wealth of creativity and experience with a unique and special view of the world and we want to share that with you. This is a magazine for people living on the water, for those interested in alternative ways of living – from creatives and dreamers, to activists and environmentalists and many more.”

   Boat Women had such a unique view of the world, and the creativity to translate that to something that a much wider audience would find interesting and inspiring.

   Once I’d had the idea the rest happened so organically, I posted on the London Boat Women Facebook group (best FB group in the world!) and 15 women came to the initial meeting wanting to be involved. This was slightly terrifying, but the numbers quickly shrunk to three, Asha, Estelle (who luckily owns a Risograph printing studio in Hackney Wick!), and me.

   We’ve just published Issue 2 and already can see how much the magazine will grow and develop with each Issue. We’re both learning as we go along. Issue three is on “Growth” and will come out in early summer. If you’re a boating lady or non-binary person you can email us your ideas for contributions at

Who or what are your inspirations?

   My friends and community inspire me more than anything, those people who have an idea and make it happen. It’s those people that have turned me from someone who would read a book and think “How does anyone have the time and tenacity to put so much work into something?” to someone who thinks that if you want to do something, you can, and that’s the only way it will happen.

You work as a Diversity and Inclusion Facilitator. How can arts and culture be genuinely more inclusive?

   It has to start from the top down. I don’t think an organisation run by straight white men can ever be truly inclusive, we need people in power within the arts who are black, trans, non-binary and neurodivergent to be making the big decisions, and only then will we get to the place we need to be. 

What advice would you give to Drama students about making their own projects and life after QM?

   You’ll all go through that period of time when you’re applying for every job on ArtsJobs that comes through (and definitely do this!) but you don’t have to wait for someone to employ you to do something worthwhile. Whether it’s a community project, creative project, or skill you’d like to learn more about, do it! Say yes to as many things as you can, you never know where they’ll lead.

Eleni Sophia in Final of £10k Gradventure Pitching Competition

Eleni Sophia from SED has made it through to the final of GradVenture, the University of London enterprise pitching competition, with her business Perspective Press Global.

She will be competing Dragon’s Den style against another Queen Mary student and six students from other University of London colleges for a share in the £10,000 prize.

The finals are online on 18 November 2020 from 2-3.30pm, and it is free to attend (although limited to 500 places) for anybody wanting to come and support the QMUL students. The link to register (by Monday 16 November) is here:

Interested in entrepreneurship but not sure where to start? Join QHack – apply by 18 October 2020

Read how QHack prepared Veerna, a first year undergraduate student, launch her own business.

“QHack helped me feel confident in sharing my idea, as before QHack I used to keep my idea to myself. I was taught that it is not the idea that makes the business, but the person behind it!”

Dates: 31st October / 1st November – 7th / 8th November

Applications close on 18 October 2020, 23:59 Apply now

More information and email any questions to

Queen Mary English Alumnus Gabriel Krauze’s novel ‘Who They Was’ longlisted for Booker Prize 2020

The School of English and Drama at QMUL is delighted and proud that our alumnus Gabriel Krauze has been nominated for the 2020 Booker Prize longlist.

Gabriel studied English at Queen Mary University of London graduating in 2009 and Who They Was is his debut novel. He grew up in London in a Polish family and was drawn to a life of crime and gangs from an early age. Now in his thirties he has left that world behind and is recapturing his life through writing. He has published short stories in Vice and recently took part in our Show & Tell – inspiring mini talks series. Listen to his talk below…

Gabriel gave a talk at Show and Tell at All Points East Festival in 2019

The blurb describes the book best:

This life is like being in an ocean. Some people keep swimming towards the bottom. Some people touch the bottom with one foot, or even both, and then push themselves off it to get back up to the top, where you can breathe. Others get to the bottom and decide they want to stay there. I don’t want to get to the bottom because I’m already drowning.

This is a story of a London you won’t find in any guidebooks.

This is a story about what it’s like to exist in the moment, about boys too eager to become men, growing up in the hidden war zones of big cities – and the girls trying to make it their own way.

This is a story of reputations made and lost, of violence and vengeance – and never counting the cost.

This is a story of concrete towers and blank eyed windows, of endless nights in police stations and prison cells, of brotherhood and betrayal.

This is about the boredom, the rush, the despair, the fear and the hope.

This is about what’s left behind.’

About Gabriel

Gabriel Krauze came of age among the high rises and back streets of South Kilburn. He was not an observer on the periphery of violence. He was – personally – heavily involved in gangs, drugs, guns, stabbing and robbery – all while completing an English degree at Queen Mary University of London in 2009.

Who They Was comes directly from that experience and as such it is confronting, exhilarating, morally complex, and utterly unique. 

Quotes about the novel include:

‘An astonishingly powerful book. Krauze is an immense new talent’  Cathy Rentzenbrink, author of The Last Act of Love

‘A timely and vital exploration into London’s violence crisis by someone who experienced the sharp end of it. I cannot conjure another work which captures this culture in such depth – or with such brutal honesty – as only lived experience can tell. ’ Graeme Armstrong, author of The Young Team

‘Gabriel Krauze is an unbelievably talented writer. No one manages to blend “literary beauty” and “an uncomfortable feeling that he’s actually quite scary” like him’ Joel Golby

Pre-order the book and more links

Drama Alumna led project: Transform The Common Room exceeds fundraising target after receiving backing from Mayor of London, Tower Hamlets Council and 250 local people

Roman Road Trust (Director is Drama Alumna Rosie Vincent) & Public Works’ Crowdfund London campaign to Transform The Common Room reached beyond target and finished with £81,721 after receiving pledges from Mayor of London, Tower Hamlets Council, Queen Mary University of London, and over 250 pledges from local people.

The campaign was launched in January 2020 to turn The Common Room from a deteriorating space into a fully-functional cultural learning facility for local people. The vision is for local people to access high quality community learning in partnership with cultural and educational organisations. The original target was £74,000.

The Common Room is a grassroots project that was initiated by the community of Roman Road in 2014. The space has been managed and led by local people for the past six years. The Common Room is a valuable resource for many groups, individuals, and surrounding organisations.

Transform The Common Room is part of Crowdfund London – the programme delivered by the Mayor of London and Spacehive aimed at backing Londoner’s ideas for improving their local area with funding and support.

After receiving over 150 pledges from local people in the first two months, Transform The Common Room was awarded the maximum pledge of £50,000 from Mayor of London in March 2020.

Following this, Transform The Common Room continued to gain momentum leading to a further 100 pledges. 15 of which were from local businesses who collectively raised £4,095 towards the campaign despite the current challenges facing businesses due to Covid-19.

During the final days of the campaign, Transform The Common Room was awarded the maximum pledge of £10k from the Tower Hamlets Innovation Fund. This was then followed by a £5,000 pledge from the Centre for Public Engagement at Queen Mary University of London on the very last day.

Rosie Vincent, Managing Director of Roman Road Trust and QMUL drama alumna said:

“We have been truly overwhelmed by the support shown by local people and neighbouring organisations.

“Receiving the maximum pledge of £50k from the Mayor of London as well as the maximum pledge of £10k from Tower Hamlets Council proves how vital this project is for our community and Roman Road high street.

“The Common Room is a project that has been trying to happen for over six years. We are very proud to know our 253 backers also agree it is time for this space to become what it truly deserves to be.”

The Common Room is scheduled to be ready in Summer 2021. Roman Road Trust is now developing the first wave of Learning Programmes to be delivered in The Common Room. If you would like to be involved or help the project please email:

Student of the month: Demi Whitnell – BA English

Always got her head in a book, a pen in her hand and her eye behind a camera.

Tell us about your time at QMUL. What have been your highlights?

My hightlights of QMUL has certainly been running CUB magazine on campus as editor-in-chief. I have learnt so many amazing skills through my position as well as having so many amazing opportunities, meeting the brilliant writers behind CUB and the students I would have have come across in my own degree. I found a little family in CUB and it will be so upsetting yo say goodbye in May.

How has your course at Queen Mary helped you to progress into the world outside? What’s next?

My course reinforced my love of writing, I was not an avid poet until second year and now I am published on Amazon as well as online publications. I also found my love of article writing through CUB which led me to my two summer internships with the Daily Telegraph Newspaper. My course showed me how diverse literature can be and I know how silly that sounds but A-levels and GCSE only gives you a small scope of literature and after university I know I will continue to explore the different pathways within literature and continue my studies.

Aside from course content what have been your favourite elements of the experience of studying here as a whole?

I cannot give CUB anymore of a shout out but without joining it in my second year as a writer, I would not be this confident or have this many amazing friends around me. I also would not have run for VP Welfare in the 2020 elections or be able to be this confident at public speaking, it gave me skills I could never have learnt without it. I also discovered how diverse peoples values and viewed can be, I met people from so many amazing backgrounds and faiths that it opened my eyes to new experiences and beliefs of my own!

Tell us about your life outside Queen Mary including any projects, ambitions or jobs you’ve had.

I’ve had several part time jobs throughout university such as bar work or retail. Bar work gave me a boost of confidence which allowed me to stand up for myself in difficult situations and to respect myself ad a woman in a male oriented environment.

What could be improved to enhance future students’ experience at Queen Mary?

Bridging the gap between SU and the students, making a less corporate relationship and more student led.

To give more opportunities to students who (like myself) travel to campus daily meaning we miss out on nights out or parties etc.

Find out more about our BA English