If you’re applying to Essex, you may have already heard about about the campus social spaces. Sub-Zero, Top Bar and the SU Bar are all great, but what about the places you haven’t heard of? Essex has a multitude of cultural hot-spots just waiting to be taken advantage of, where you can open your mind and create freely. That, to me, is what university is about.
#1: Gigs in Base
Here is the place to go if you want to see live music for cheap right on your doorstep. From lively cover bands, university alumni, all the way to touring bands who have played Reading and Leeds. If you love live music in any capacity, Base has you covered. Also, if you form a band on campus, chances are you’ll get to play in Base pretty frequently…just ask Sonic Hangover! The gigs in Base are organised by the Alternative Music Society (Altsoc), a great group of people united by a love of all kinds of music.
Photography credit: University of Essex Alternative Music Society, sourced via Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/AltSocEssex/)
If you want more info on upcoming live bands in Base, join “University Of Essex Alternative Music Society Forum” on Facebook.
#2: Lakeside Theatre
My fellow blogger Perry has no doubt covered this extensively during his time as a student blogger, but it bears repeating. The Lakeside theatre is an absolute gem. It boasts everything from a yearly panto, to physical theatre, to powerful discussions and spoken word performances. In my first year, I saw some brilliant stand up comedy from Nathan Caton and I’m a sucker for a panto, so I saw that in my first and second years. No matter what your taste, if you’re into theatre, Lakeside is the place for you.
Photography credit: University of Essex sourced via Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/universityofessex/12221362263/
You can find upcoming Lakeside performances at http://lakesidetheatre.org.uk/whats-on/listings/.
#3: Music Room B
In my first year at Essex, if you wanted to play in a band, you had to practice in a lecture theatre between 7 and 10pm. In my second year, I helped the music society clear out the old drama room, which happened to contain not one but two Steinway pianos, and convert it into a practice room for musicians. Two years down the line and it’s a fully functioning music room complete with a set of amps, a drum kit, a keyboard, PA, and a multitude of other equipment. All you have to do is join the music society and you’re free to book it whenever you like. A musician’s dream. I love it!
Photography credits: Matthew Thurlow-Fox via Facebook (top) (https://www.facebook.com/matthew.thurlowfox?ref=br_rs) , UoE Music Society via Facebook (bottom left) (https://www.facebook.com/uoemusicsociety/), Octavian Albu (bottom right)
If you’re a practising musician, or just fancy giving it a try, check out “UoE Music Society” on Facebook.
Cine10 is something that still blows my mind every time I think about it. A cinema on campus, with full Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound and a 2K projector, and tickets are half the price of the Odeon in town. Cine10 shows movies that are still in cinemas, as well as classics, such as Mean Girls on October 3rd (of course) and the obligatory showing of Love Actually at Christmas. I saw Gone Girl there in my second year, and I have screenings for my film class there once a week. This is how much I love Cine10: my screenings are voluntary and at 9am (9AM!) and I still make the effort to go every week. It’s the full cinema experience, for no money at all.
Photography credit: Cine10 via Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/Cine10-986183034789708/)
See all upcoming films at https://www.essexstudent.com/cine10/.
#5: Art Exchange
The Art Exchange is an incredible, cutting edge art gallery which is always free and always home to some amazing art. The first time I went to the gallery I saw Faiza Butt’s Paracosm and was so deeply impressed I made my mind up to see as many exhibitions as I could. The gallery has been home to such exhibitions as 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen’s Queen and Country exhibit and Regina José Galindo’s incredible Tierra. If you’re looking for radical contemporary art, or exhibitions of seminal work, Art Exchange has you covered.
Photography credit: Art Exchange via Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/ArtExchangeUoE/)
To see what exhibitions are coming up at the Art Exchange, check out their website at http://www.artexchange.org.uk/.