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Sophie — Performing Arts BA (Hons) Top-up Degree

Sophie Hewlett

The lecturers really care about their students and are impassioned about what they teach. Their love for it makes you love it too. 

Sophie — HE Acting — 

Aspiring actor Sophie, 22, studied the Level 5 Acting Foundation Degree and progressed to the BA (Hons) Top-up, which she has recently graduated from. We chatted to her about her passion for performing arts, why gaining a degree was important to her, and what future ambitions she has. Here’s what she told us:

The course was recommended to me by a family friend. I wanted to stay local, so this was a great option.

I applied very last minute as I was originally going to take a gap year because I didn’t feel ready to leave home to pursue acting at the time. When I learned of the course at Nottingham College, I applied immediately, and after a phone call with one of the tutors, it became clear that it was the right choice. 

I felt completely at ease during the interview, audition, and tour, so it was a no-brainer when I was offered a place on the course.” 

The advantages of choosing College over university

Attending a college meant that the classes were more personal as well as relationships. The tutors had more time to see to the individual needs of their students, which in turn helped all of us excel.

I felt so comfortable and at home on this course and I don’t think a drama school or big university course would have afforded me that benefit. 

We also got to work with students on other courses which was an amazing experience and a great opportunity to make friends outside of our group but with people who share the same interests.” 

What do you love about Acting?

I have always been amazed by how much a performance can inspire emotions in those watching. When I studied GCSE Drama, I was lucky enough to see 1984 on stage, and I was in awe of the power it held over me. I wanted nothing more than to help Winston’ when he broke the fourth wall and pleaded with the audience, feeling guilty that I couldn’t, even though I knew it was a play based on a fictional book and not reality.

The thing I love most about acting is being able to live different lives, different stories and separate from your own reality to take on someone else’s — whether it’s fiction or biographical. You get to travel through time and see things through other people’s eyes, almost like reading a book, but physical instead of just using your imagination.” 

College experience and what stood out about the course

Sophie Hewlett and friends

The new location in the City Hub is incredible! Although I didn’t study there for long, due to the pandemic and online learning taking precedence, there are so many rooms so it’s amazing for finding space for private rehearsals or if you need a quiet place to do some work.

Whilst on the course I made some friends for life. We’re all passionate about acting and supportive of each other’s aspirations. 

The lecturers really care about their students and are impassioned about what they teach. Their love for it makes you love it too. 

My favourite modules over the three years were TV & Film, Industry Practise and Own Project, mainly because they were all linked to my main area of interest which is screen acting.” 

Preparing for the real world

I feel like a lot of lessons are still to be learned once in the industry, and on the job, but this course gave me the confidence to actively pursue a career in screen acting, which is invaluable. The most helpful module on the course when planning my future was industry practise, which enabled me to explore a theoretical role of my choice within the performing arts industry.”

Stand out from the crowd with a degree-level qualification

Acting and Performing Arts is such a competitive industry, and that’s why gaining a degree was so important to me. I didn’t have the opportunity to study drama at A Level and I felt that I had so much to learn to be able to compete with other aspiring actors. For this reason, I haven’t ruled out the idea of doing a Masters in Screen Acting. And if this is the direction I decide to take, the College has given me the confidence and skills to progress to the next level.”

Future plans

Whilst I love theatre, my strengths on the course showed me that I am a lot more suited to screen acting, and it’s the medium that I’ve always felt more confident in.”

The absolute dream is appearing in blockbuster films affiliated with Disney, such as anything by Marvel Studios. I also love the thought of starring in a period drama or film, partly because I want a legitimate reason to be wearing a ball gown. I’ll settle for anything in TV and film though, as I work towards that goal.”

If you'd like to find out more about our degree-level courses, why not come along to our Higher Education Open Evening on 22 February 2022?