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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?