Rosie Alabaster

I graduated from Central Saint Martins in 1998 and returned to take the MA in Scenography in 2000. I have designed a few productions over the years including Macbeth, Amadeus and A Midsummer Nights Dream for Derby Playhouse, Tempest for the Cambridge Arts Theatre and most frequently with Eastern Angles Theatre Company.

I now teach Scenography full-time in the Drama Department at Royal Holloway, University of London and design productions alongside my teaching. I am also about to begin research into an installation project investigating shifting notions of place and identity in liminal and threatened landscapes such as the fens and the East Anglian coastline.

Why did you decide to study at Central Saint Martins?

I visited a lot of colleges before deciding on Central Saint Martins. My friend and I both loved the atmosphere of the studios.

I also loved the fact that the course was in an art college and not a drama school. My first impression of some drama colleges was that there were a lot of big egos echoing down the corridors. I knew that kind of atmosphere was not for me.

What was the best bit about living and studying in London?

Of course, the central London location was a big factor in choosing Central Saint Martins - all my senses were wonderfully indulged in London.

What top tips would you give to students who are beginning their studies?

When you approach researching a project give yourself plenty of time to leaf through books in the library. You will stumble across the unexpected this way and Google searches are really no substitute for accidental discoveries. There is an excellent collection at the College that you will miss when you leave.

And for students about to graduate?

Ensure you have a flexible source of income that can support you in your creative work. I kept running away from London when finances got tough, which made my output fragmented.

What are you up to now? How did you get there?

I am a Teaching Fellow at Royal Holloway, University of London. The work is challenging my brain cells and the students are highly motivated, which makes the job rewarding. I saw the job in the paper and that was it really.

How has Central Saint Martins helped in your chosen career path?

Obtaining a Masters in Scenography clearly helped me in my application for my current job and I may yet go on to further academic study.

As a theatre practitioner, I value the years spent at Central Saint Martins because they allowed me so much creative freedom. When you leave college there are so many outside factors that shape your work that I think it is crucial to give yourself the time to build confidence in your ideas through experimentation, even if they don't always work first time around.