HSU Theatre Society has been one of the greatest things to ever happen in my life. It’s a society that changed me over the last five years. It’s challenged me in so many ways that I never thought were possible. My name’s Callum Haigh. And I’m here to tell you how HSU Theatre has had a massive impact on my life.
When I started at Sheffield Hallam University in September 2013, I heard about the various societies at the university, including one little theatrical group known as HSU Theatre Society. I’m a singer, and before joining, I used to love getting up on stage and being able to sing. It’d also been a while since I last acted on stage, having lost that passion years ago. Despite that, I made the decision to sign up.
My first ever production with the society was The Producers, where I played the lead role of Leopold Bloom, the nervous accountant that has desires to produce Broadway shows. I could easily identify with Bloom, due to his growth from a nervous wreck to a confident showman. This part landed me more roles from then on, including the nerdy Marvin in the musical Loserville, ensemble roles in Spring Awakening and Soho Cinders, as well as small roles in Twelfth Night and Romeo and Juliet, and most recently, my musical role as Doody in Grease.
Being able to perform on stage within these roles has helped improve my confidence in so many ways. I’m autistic and I’ve never really had any issues with stage fright, but after my performance in The Producers, I felt like I was slowly starting to build up a newfound sense of self-assurance. Like I could go out on stage and completely lose myself in the spotlight. Never having to face reality, at least until the show was over. It was, perhaps the first time that I truly began to believe in myself, seeing the potential in my acting and singing ability. And it was all thanks to HSU Theatre Society.
But HSU Theatre managed to help me achieve one important thing; A sense of adventure.
By that, I mean that my time in the society helped me to become more outgoing. Before joining, I liked going out with my friends, but I never always contacted my friends to go out with them. But when I joined HSU Theatre, I began spending more time with them, going out to all sorts of places and becoming more sociable as well. The society was able to bring out a side of me that I could only have dreamed of. The people within the society accepted me, and they showed me that no matter how different you were, HSU Theatre would always have a place for you.
HSU Theatre Society has helped me grow into a much better person and I am proud to have been a part of it. Five years later, and I’m a more confident person. I owe so much to these wonderful people. And I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
Written by: Callum Haigh