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UWTSD Graduate secures a job with Welsh National Opera

Jevon Mckenna

BA Set Design and Production graduate from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) has secured a post with the Welsh National Opera.

Jevon Mckenna from Swansea decided to study UWTSD as he wanted to follow in his siblings’ footsteps by studying at the same institution as them, as it felt like a special place. He said:

“What makes UWTSD special (for me at least) is how tight-knit things are, not only regarding the student and staff communities but how that affects the resources they can allocate to you. In a larger class, I would not have had as much one-to-one time with my lecturers, in my opinion.”

He decided to study the BA Set Design and Production course at UWTSD in Carmarthen as it was a very hands-on vocational course. Jevon felt that he was not an academic person, but he enjoyed creating things with his hands. He had worked in the construction industry before enrolling as a student at UWTSD, and as he chose to specialise in props and puppets, he was able to bring and use some of his existing knowledge to his studies.

Jevon felt that the course gave him the opportunity to develop as an individual.

“I think I’ve developed in ways that I’m deeply grateful for, in the sense that I feel like a much more humble and grateful practitioner now than I was before. I feel like I was quite insecure about my skills and qualities, and through UWTSD I have learned to be more accepting and nurturing – not only to myself but also to others.”

Through the unique tailored opportunities presented to him by the course, Jevon was able to discover puppetry, which has led him to his first industry job.

Currently, Jevon is an assitant touring stage technician for the Welsh National Opera, based in the Wales Millenium Centre, Cardiff.

“During our last tour, I was not only part of the team assembling/disassembling the set for the two shows, but in between my onstage cues with set-changes, I would also mend and maintain the various puppets and props. I would not have this job, if not for the skills and knowledge I had gained while studying on the Set Design and Production course.

“I never dreamed I would get to work for a company such as WNO, and I’d like to make their props and puppets for them in future, in addition to just fixing and maintaining them.”

Stacey Jo Atkinson, Co-Programme Manager for BA Set Design and Production said:

“Industry focus and employment are at the heart of the Set Design and Production degree. We encourage all of our students to push themselves to help them to find their passion and what they want to pursue. Jevon was able to explore and develop during his time on the course and use his newly found skills, as well as existing skillset, to discover his passion for props and puppetry. He was able to look at his options and found an opportunity with WNO. This opportunity has led to not only work experience but now going on to work for the company on their Autumn/ Winter season as a UWTSD 2023 graduate.”