The Oxford School of Drama

First job after graduating – Kiera Murray One Year Course Graduate

First job after graduating - Oxford School of Drama 2023 News

Kiera graduated from the One Year Course in 2022. Soon after graduation Kiera made her professional debut in Hamlet with Lazarus Theatre Company at Southwark Playhouse, which finished its run recently. 

She initially began her training focussing on musical theatre and before coming to The Oxford School of Drama completed a BA in Musical Theatre in London. Kiera is currently working on a few projects with Shot in the Dark Theatre Company. We spoke with Kiera about her time at the school and life after OSD.

Firstly, congratulations on your professional debut! How was the run?

It’s such a typical thing to say but it feels like such a whirlwind, because when you’re in it, it feels like it’s your whole life and it’s lasted forever. Then when you’re on the other side of it, it’s like you’ve blinked and what’s just happened. Southwark Playhouse is such a cool theatre. It’s amazing to be in that kind of venue as a first job right out of school.

What was it like performing at the Southwark Playhouse, because I know you did your graduating show there?

I mean, when we found out we were doing our graduating play at Southwark Playhouse I was buzzing, I absolutely love that theatre. I remember seeing shows there when I was a bit younger and just thinking, that’s it, that’s the real deal. So, I was buzzing to do Sea Things (OSD new commission from Hassan Abdulrazzak). It was amazing being back in that space, but also cool to see how it completely changes in a different season.

What was the audition process like for Hamlet?

The first round was a self-tape of a classical speech, any speech at all. After that the first recall was in person, it was a group audition, more like a workshop exploring text and movement. The final round was more focused on text. We were split into groups and had to find an “interesting” way of delivering the text. It was just basically to see how you work as a group, rather than what kind of ideas come out of it.

What was your favourite moment in the play?

My kind of ‘bit’ as Player Queen was one of the only light moments of the show. If you get the first laugh it’s just like, yes. Okay, they’re on side, they get it. There were some shows where there wasn’t and that’s always hard to get through, especially when you’ve got schools coming in. 

Were you always interested in acting?

Me and my sisters from a really young age, we just always kind of danced at Monument Dance Centre in Stirling. We did a lot of drama and dance growing up. And then it was something that me and my older sister just kept doing. And it was always one of those things that I really liked doing. And I don’t know if I can say I’m good at it, but it felt good to do.

I know you did a Dance and Musical Theatre degree before OSD, what made you choose a further One Year of training in Acting?

I just thought, I don’t think I want to stay where I am in life right now. I always had a love for musical theatre, but I’ve always loved acting. And acting, of course, is musical theatre as well. But I always had in the back of my head, maybe I’ll do a One Year Acting course at some point. The industry feels like it’s on pause at the minute, it might be a good time to run away and do some monologues in a field.

It was probably one of the first times in my life that I’ve just fully made a decision on my own and stuck to it. And then come out the other side, which is incredible.

Looking back on your training, was there a time at school that was of particular significance?

I mean the whole thing was significant. I lived in London for about six years before I went to Oxford. I know they say this a lot about Oxford, but because you’re in that area, it’s your whole life. And it’s all you can focus on and want to focus on for that. Especially on the One Year Course, it was so nice to have something to really immerse myself in and do for a year. 

How have you found the transition from drama school to the industry?

For me it’s a physical adjustment more than anything else. When you’re at a place like Oxford, and you’re in this routine every day, your body and your mind are all working towards this thing. It’s a shock to the system when you stop. We have that transition when we do the London season, which is great. I think especially for a school like Oxford because it would be a massive shock going from living in the middle of nowhere to being in London.

Are there any aspects of your training that you particularly value now that you are in the industry?

The voice training was a huge light bulb moment for me that was something that I hadn’t done loads of before and I think just learning how to let go. Sounds so drama school but learning how to breathe and relax, not in like a ‘chilled out I don’t get nervous’ way but like a tension bodily relax kind of way has made such a difference to how I work now for sure. I don’t think I would have got that job without the voice and language work we did at Oxford at all.

How important is it for graduates and actors in the current industry to stay proactive?

I think it’s important to create your own work and to be proactive, but as long as it feels right, and doesn’t feel like a cloud over your head because it’s hard enough (being an actor). It can’t ever feel like something you have to do or you’re dreading doing, because then you just won’t enjoy it. It has to be something that feels good to do and you’re enjoying doing.

Quick fire Questions

Kiera Murray Hamlet Photo by Charles Flint
Kiera Murray Hamlet Photo by Charles Flint
First job after graduating - Oxford School of Drama 2023 News
Kiera Murray in Film Class while at OSD (Photos by Geraint Lewis)
First job after graduating - Oxford School of Drama 2023 News
Kiera Murray in Film Class while at OSD (Photos by Geraint Lewis)