Freshers’ Features: Musical Theatre Society

REGINA CO interviews MT Soc president, KINGSLEY DE COSTA (he/him), on what comes next for the society. 


This year, Era Journal’s Theatre section is featuring the societies that make up the UCL theatre scene. For the fourth of these features, we turn to UCL’s Musical Theatre (MT) Society. As one of the biggest and busiest musical theatre societies in the country, UCLMT always has something going on, with 5-6 productions every academic year alongside workshops, concerts and many other events.


De Costa as Trombone for the Company band. Image courtesy of Xinyu Sia.


Kingsley, knowing you personally, you are such a multitalented person: trombonist, singer, actor, dancer and you’re also a member of Stage Crew. Can you tell us of a time when your multiple talents have come to good use?


I’ll set the scene: I’ve signed up to be a stagehand on our term 3 production of The Last 5 Years in 2021. We have just finished our dress run when rehearsal ends early. Fine by me, I’ll go home and chill for a couple of hours… I get to Euston Square station and I get a call from the director. She says, “one of the leads has just been pinged by the NHS app. We need you to learn the role tonight.” One day of rehearsals later, I’m on the Bloomsbury stage.


From one performer to another, I can only imagine that must have been so scary, especially with COVID restrictions back then. Such a class act from you to learn the role in 24 hours!


As terrifying as it was at the time, I can only look back and laugh!


The London premiere of the new musical, My Land’s Shore in the Bloomsbury Theatre. Image courtesy of Jatin Naru.


On a more personal note, how would you say MT Soc has impacted you?


UCLMT was a huge reason I joined UCL. The society kept me going through the lockdowns during first year. Over the past 2 years it has also allowed me to form some of the strongest friendships I’ve ever had… (also, carrying keyboards up and down stairs every day has certainly impacted the width of my thighs).


Company in rehearsals. Image courtesy of Xinyu Sia.


Speaking of first year, is there anything you would tell your fresher self about joining MT Soc?


Stop wearing skinny jeans in dance auditions. No, on a more serious note, I’d tell my younger self this: don’t be scared of other people. I may be loud and bouncy around other people, but I’m really an extraordinarily timid person. So, coming into first year, I still shied away and didn’t give my all, even if I told myself I was going to go for everything. I saw those who were older than me like theatre deities, I felt I would let them down… I needn’t have felt like that.


Behind the scenes of Jonathan Larson’s Tick, Tick… Boom! Image courtesy of the interviewer.


So would you say it’s the supportive environment that the society cultivates that allowed you to overcome that, in a way?


Ultimately, everyone who is part of the society is a student and is there to learn and create something great, regardless of prior experience. You don’t have to view the upperclassmen as theatre gods. Everyone has the capacity to be incredible, but that won’t happen if you don’t get involved. We’re all here to learn and perform, so chill out!


Backstage at Jonathan Larson’s RENT in December 2021. Image courtesy of Hasha Dar.


That’s very uplifting! So is there a performance that continues to inspire you on a creative level?


Mykal Kilgore’s performance of “Heaven on Their Minds” from Jesus Christ Superstar. Everything that man does is glorious; his album A Man Born Black is a masterpiece. But there is a 50-second clip of him performing the ending of the opening number of Jesus Christ Superstar and… that’s literally all I can say. Look it up.


From Jonathan Larson’s Tick, Tick… Boom! Image courtesy of the interviewer.


Ok, speed round: sum up MT Soc in three words. 


We’re quite loud! 


What is something people don’t know about you? 


I have a baseball cap in (almost) every colour, just so I can match any outfit if I need to. 


And last but not least, what events are you running for this year? 


Our annual 24-hour Freshers Musical is happening from the 30th of September to the 1st of October. Come along and meet us at 3:30pm on the main quad on Friday the 30th!


Auditions for our Bloomsbury production of ‘9 to 5’ will also be held from the 3rd and 4th of October. Band auditions will be the following week.


More details about these events and others we have coming soon will be up on our social media shortly. 


The band for Little Women in rehearsal. Image courtesy of Kelly Samuel.


For more information, follow their Instagram and Twitter or drop them an email at [email protected].


Featured image courtesy of Xinyu Sia.