Univ Dates: 2005-2008

Degree: BA English Language & Literature

Degree Level: Undergraduate

Occupation: Actress

Biography: Laura first began acting whilst studying for her English BA at Oxford, where she was a Choral Scholar. Since graduating from LAMDA in 2011, she has performed in a variety of roles both at home and abroad. These include Miryanna in Rest Upon The Wind directed by Nadim Sawalha, on tour in Oman, Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Marjaneh/Shaherezad in The Arabian Nights for BBC Radio 4. She has also appeared on screen and recently completed filming as Beth in the new online and TV series The Desert. She recently began writing and performing acoustic/folk music as part of a female duo. At Univ Laura was Co-President of the Univ Players. She played the part of Margery Pinchwife in the Univ Players’ production of The Country Wife.

 

Did you have preconceptions of Univ?

I don’t know that I did; I had been recommended to apply by my English teacher at school and he had come to Oxford. I do remember when I came up for interview feeling very comfortable in Univ – the College being very relaxed and my interview experience was so pleasant and not at all nerve-racking. I found that again when I came back for my first day as a student.

 

Did you have acting ambitions before Univ?

I probably harboured some somewhere secretly when I was younger as I’d done a lot of singing and acting, but it all started with music for me. Secretly deep down I probably wanted to be Julie Andrews, but I never really considered it seriously until I came to Univ and then the extent of the drama scene across Oxford and in College was what really began my thought process. I was thrilled that the drama society here was so active.

I did my first show here in the gardens, The Country Wife – it was an amazing experience. I remember that the week we were performing the show my birthday was one of those nights and I’m sure that’s one of my happiest memories of College.

 

Who influenced you at Univ?

My peers always inspired me – I had a couple of mates who ended up being the Welfare Officers here and it was just so fitting that they took that role because they were both just so endlessly supportive of everything that I did. They would always be there for me at the stage door with flowers; that’s really what I needed to go out in a career like this, especially when lots of people were applying for internships with companies in the City and I was thinking, ‘That’s not really for me.’

 

How is it being part of this project?

Amazing – I was a little shocked and surprised when the letter came through, but I’m just immensely flattered to have been selected. I very much appreciated that my presence and my time here had clearly been valued and that I was being asked back; just so flattered…

 

How important is something like this project?

Incredibly important – listening to the Master talking about his ideas behind this, how important it is that people come to the college and are able to identify with the things that they see around them and therefore understand that they can have a place here, can belong here.

It’s so intensely valuable, I can’t stress it enough. I was very fortunate that I had an older sister that had been to a university that was very similar and therefore already had something in my world that meant that my mind was open to it. But neither of my parents went to university, my dad is Egyptian – I’m a second-generation immigrant – and there are many reasons why this might have not been something I would ever have thought to do. So things like this project really make people feel welcome, is truly invaluable.