Elly has always had a love for theatre and has embraced the creative industries since her childhood. With creative parents backing her, Elly took the leap into the world of performing arts, despite her hesitations about performing on the big stage. Now, Elly has embraced all aspects of performing and production arts and is excited for a rewarding and diverse career in the creative industries.
“Well, I’m a theatre kid, I’ve always been a theatre kid and I’m like such a nerd for theatre. Growing up, I would go see ballet performances and I would sit through them and I’ve just grown up with it. I chose to go to Banbury and Bicester College as I live in Banbury and it was convenient. I looked at other colleges and got places.
“I had experience in the creative spaces at Banbury and Bicester College as I’d been involved in community theatre and the studio is rented out for that. So, I already felt comfortable in this space and thought this is the place where I can learn and create things that I am proud of.”
Despite this comfort within the creative spaces at college, Elly knew it best to explore all of her options before making her decision on where to study next. With her family in tow, she booked various Open Events in Banbury.
“At the Banbury and Bicester College Open Event, I met Rob and Kieran, who are honestly like the best teachers ever. They’re like so friendly and approachable but they’re also so professional. It’s a good mix of professionalism but also having someone you can just talk to. Sometimes you need someone to push you, you need that. Especially in performing arts where people are a little bit crazy and all we want to do is sing and dance.”
Elly’s instinct at the Open Event was correct and once she settled in, she soon flourished at college. She notes that choosing your options at 16 can be a scary decision, but the support is there regardless of what course you choose and that your future career isn’t necessarily set in stone by that decision.
“I think this course in particular, as it’s performing and production arts, is so open, and I think when you’re 16, you don't really know completely what you want to do. I know that I want to work in theatre but I know that I don’t really want to act, I don’t really have much experience in set designing or sound or casting or directing, but this course allows me to do all that with the safety net of it being performing arts.
“I really enjoy the acting, it’s just not what I want to do as a career, and I know I don’t have to do that. We have job roles where people have to nominate themselves and do an interview for whatever they choose to do, like stage managing, costumes, lighting, and that's really good experience.”
Some may find it strange to choose a course seemingly based on acting and not wanting to go directly into that profession. Elly notes that opportunities are not limited and although performance is intrinsic to the course, the production elements are viable progression and career paths in themselves.
“For me, because I am creative, I just want to be happy and do what I love. So, I think that this has really shown me that this is what I want to do. I get to be happy and I get to be creative, but I also feel like that’s a natural progression to university or drama school and then into the workplace.
Elly feels herself developing each day at college. Not only does her course let her fuel her passion for the creative industries but being able to take part in a host of workshops alongside her studies has really helped to bring this creativity to life.
“You’re able to use all the creative workshops here outside of your course and we can do electives too every week. It’s super fun, I love it so much that I do two a week. I’ve learnt how to use a sewing machine, I’m not very good at it but the tutor said I can come back and make costumes which I think might be a little bit too much of a reach but it’s the openness to be able to explore all aspects and the warm environment, which just helps you to grow. We can use anything, we can use the printing presses, embroidery equipment and photography studio and everything.
Thankfully, Elly’s parents supported her decision to study performing and production arts, both creatives themselves. Since coming to college, her confidence in her craft and abilities has grown alongside her involvement in a host of extra-curricular activities. Elly knows she made the right choice.
“I’m really lucky that I have creative parents who have always been really supportive. I think that college often gets put down, like schools really want to keep you for A Levels because then they get more money. Sometimes you get an odd response when you say you go to college where people believe that’s what happens when you don’t get the grades that you want. I got all the grades I needed, and I wanted. I’ve always felt really supported and once my parents, peers and wider family saw what I was doing here and how happy and involved I was here, that changed their perspective a little bit on college.
“I’m not that confident, I am only confident when it comes to performing arts, but I think being involved in other stuff campus-wide like the Students Union, being a course rep and a course ambassador really helps. Even stuff like this interview, the student-led things really help you grow and become more confident which in turn prepares you for later life and I think arts in general make you more confident and creative.
Coming to Banbury and Bicester College gave Elly the opportunity to start again and meet likeminded and passionate people. In reinventing herself and following her dreams, she is set to have an exciting future in the creative industries.
“I was really looking forward to having a clean slate, making new friends and meeting new people. Especially knowing new people that are more like me and who are more serious about performing arts and creative industries and I think that has definitely happened. I joined the course with two other people that had been in my GCSE drama class and I’ve become closer to them as well as we spend like ten hours a day together.
“I would say anyone considering the course to just do it. I think with college there is so much flexibility that if the course isn’t right for you, that’s fine, that’s okay, and you will probably gain some confidence, learn new skills and everyone here is so supportive, and they want you to be on the right course and they will be more than happy to help you on that journey. Hopefully it is the right course but it’s so open and wide and you can do so many different things that I think just go for it and believe in yourself a little bit more.”