Why this course?
Firstly, I wanted to be in Bristol. It’s such a vivacious, stimulating and vivid city, with a true bohemian mood-and there’s no end of things to get involved in! Secondly, I was drawn to the setting of the course; I spent my second year working in Hamilton House, one of Bristol’s largest, most comprehensive and pioneering arts venues. This has harmonised perfectly with my ambition to become a film/theatre writer, director and practitioner.
The course has been beneficial for me on so many levels; it’s enriched my social skills and facilitated profound personal growth. I’m very grateful to the course, my tutors and also my fellow students for being with me on this journey. Furthermore, it’s opened up fantastic networking opportunities. In the last two years I’ve worked with the organizations Ausform, Compass Events, Co-Resist, Co-Exist and their connection Wellbeing. I am also about to lead workshops in several locations across the South West and in London, and I’m interning with the amazing Nozstock festival, as a result of the confidence and skills I’ve cultivated on this programme. The course has also been excellent groundwork for the degree I’m progressing to at the Royal Central School of Speech & Drama later this year.
The best bit
The fantastic thing about this programme is that it's neither too practical, nor too contextual; the balance is ideal for people who don’t just want to perform, but who want to assume responsibility of their own creative work. You explore and deepen your art; you write, you direct, you research and investigate both existing and new ideas within performing arts. You are given the opportunity to find your own approach. It really does provide a lush, productive, enriching space for all kinds of performing artists! You will be pushed to your limits, and taken places you probably didn’t even know existed, physically as well as intellectually.
My tutors are as loving and nurturing as family. And as demanding, challenging and impelling as critics!
Honestly, my tutors have been an incredible presence in my life during my time on the course. They inspire you to give as much as you can give; to be the best you can be. More than that, they have the professional experience, intellect, artistry and humanity to help you discover how to do that! They are truly inspirational people; they keep you strong through the times when you’re exhausted, and encourage you to be passionate, tough and original in an industry that's notorious for testing people's mettle.
Everybody is an individual and brings something special and unique to the group dynamic. We’ve all developed different ambitions; one of my friends wants to train at mime school, another writes scripts for primary and secondary school student productions, another wants to become a film producer, while I’d like to write, direct and potentially perform my own work. Working in a small ensemble can be tough, and as an actress I've found myself closer to people than I’ve probably ever been in my life! But we've always supported each other and respected each other for the many different things we want to do with our careers. We’re all equally driven and creative, but most importantly, we have lots of fun soaking up Bristol's gorgeous culture together!
I've been very lucky to have had access to excellent film editing facilities and equipment, tablets and cameras, as well as a large library chock-full of fantastic books and DVDs, not to mention the beautiful studios at Hamilton House. City of Bristol College offers so much, with a variety of campuses and services available according to the course you're studying. I really appreciate the links the institution has with companies and organisations in the world beyond the course, including the University of Plymouth, which provides us with excellent online resources.
My course is a 2-year vocational degree, which means that while you have the choice of 'topping up' upon completion, the course also stands alone as a respected and valuable qualification. It's flexible enough to allow you to commit to other activities and pursuits in your life, but it's challenging enough to promote a strong work ethos, help develop professionalism, and push you to set, meet and go beyond high standards. I couldn’t recommend it more!