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Sarah went on to study Drama and Theatre Studies at Royal Holloway University of London and has recently appeared in EastEnders and the independent Netflix film The Intent, as well as numerous commercials including Asda, Experian and Dreams.
What are your fondest memories from your time at college?
Ahhh I genuinely have so many! I did an AS-level in dance and media and an A-level in English Language, which were all brilliant but it was studying Performing Arts that was my real passion. I loved my two years studying Performing Arts and made many friends. John Marks was the course leader and I learnt a lot from him.
I remember I played the Walrus in Alice Through The Looking Glass in my first year, which was the second years’ performance. I was so chuffed getting a role in the second years’ show although the costume I had to wear was horrendous! I had fake crabs hanging from my coat and giant goggles on!
I have so many lovely memories of everyone singing around the piano in break times, typical performing arts students!
How did studying performing arts at college prepare you for drama school?
I went on to do a BA in Drama and Theatre studies as opposed to drama school. I went to Royal Holloway University of London, which was recommended to me by John Marks. The degree was very theoretical so I was so glad that college gave me a real practical foundation to complement the theory I learnt at university.
I also learnt a lot about stagecraft, not just acting but lighting and sound too, which I still use today, as when I’m not acting myself I teach drama and I apply that knowledge for when I direct my students.
What have been your career highlights to date?
Having a role in EastEnders recently was a high as it was great to be part of such an iconic show. Stepping foot on Albert Square was very surreal!
I’m also proud to be part of a film series called The Intent. It was an independent film but it did so well that it was sold to Netflix worldwide and then it got backing by Universal records and we shot a second film. The premiere was in Leicester Square and it was amazing to see just how far it had come.
My first love is theatre and I found my love for theatre by being part of Braunton Productions as a child so it was an awesome opportunity last year to go back to my roots and work with the fantastic theatre company PunchDrunk on a new show called Small Wonders. We had a six week residency in a theatre in North London, which was great.
What are you currently working on? Do you have any upcoming projects?
I’ve recently done a small piece of theatre, doing one night at The Bush Theatre in Shepherds Bush and I’m hoping to do some more theatre this summer but I haven’t signed a contract yet so I will keep quiet until I do!
I’ve recently shot a commercial for the bank BNP Parabas that will come out in the Netherlands. It was great to film as I shot it in different locations across Croatia. I have been lucky enough to shoot six commercials over the last two years including ASDA, Experian and Dreams.
Other than that I am back in the casting room, hoping that something comes along.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow a similar career path to you?
Keep grinding and don’t give up! It’s not easy, the work isn’t always stable and there’s a lot of rejection but when you do get a ‘yes’ and you step foot on set or stage it’s the best feeling in the world. If acting is something you love with all your heart then keep at it and I truly believe you will reach your goal.
Course: National Diploma in Music Practice and FdA Music Performance
Rich is the drummer in the band The Fallen State. The band is made up of former Petroc music students and staff, and has seen great success both locally and further afield. Recently they went on tour with 3 Doors Down and Pop Evil, and played to large crowds at venues up and down the country, including Manchester Academy One and Hammersmith Apollo.
How do you think your college course helped prepare you for what you do now?
When I studied the BTEC I learnt a lot about performance and recording, both of which were fairly new to me at that time, having just left school.
But, studying the FdA as a mature student with a bit more experience was paramount to learning more about the modern music industry and how the modern business of music works. It was great to network with other local musicians and technology students, many of whom I (we) have worked with in the local area.
Any stand-out moments from your time at college?
There are lots of standout moments from my experience at Petroc, but I really enjoyed shooting a music video there and learning about the editing process of footage we had recorded!
What have been your musical career highlights to date?
There have been many career highlights so far but touring the country/EU is always a mind-blowing experience. We have been lucky enough over the last couple of years to tour with big bands including Black Stone Cherry and 3 Doors Down! These tours respectively have taken us to famous venues such as the Belfast Ulster Hall, Nottingham Rock City and very recently, the amazing Hammersmith Apollo. I don't think I'll ever forget playing to a full house on that Apollo stage!
Any words of wisdom for those planning to follow in your footsteps?
My advice to anyone wanting to advance in the music industry is keep at it! It's a lot of hard work, broken cymbals, time off work, creative differences, getting home from a show three hours before your shift etc. etc. but stick together and be the best you can be because you never know where it will take you!!
Course: Level 2 Music Performance and Music Technology
Dan is a guitarist in the band The Fallen State. The band is made up of former Petroc music students and staff, and has seen great success both locally and further afield. Recently they went on tour with 3 Doors Down and Pop Evil, and played to large crowds at venues up and down the country, including Manchester Academy One and Hammersmith Apollo.
Doing my Diploma in Music at Petroc gave me a fresh awareness of the music industry and gave me the opportunity to play live music most days and play in front of large audiences.
Learning the music tech side has given me the skills and knowledge to both record at home using software such as Garage Band and Logic Pro, and has given me more of an understanding when recording in a professional studio.
One of the biggest things I also took away from the music course at college was being around and making friends with people who are as interested in music as me; there was never a boring day.
In our last performance at college, we were given the option to put on a show of our choosing. My group and I decided to do something a little different and put on a Backstreet boys tribute act… which, funnily enough, grabbed the attention of a lot of people and we marketed it pretty well. This was way out of our comfort zone but was actually really fun.
When I came to the performance, stepping on the stage I remember how the audience reacted, giving me and my group a huge confidence boost playing in front of a big crowd. I’m not saying you lose all your nerves as they’re good to have before a show to keep your playing on point, but if you are having a good time on stage the crowd feeds off that energy.
I’m lucky enough to be in a band with some of my best friends and we have travelled to many parts of the country and abroad doing what we love, playing live music and sharing stages with some of my favourite bands, including Blackstone Cherry, Halestorm, 3 Doors Down and Pop Evil, to name a few.
On our latest tour with 3 Doors Down and Pop Evil we played the legendary Hammersmith Apollo, which was a show I won’t be forgetting in a hurry.
Nothing just comes to you, you have to put in the hard work, play in live bands, get your band in front of people, push and promote your band… play a show in London and get back the following morning getting dropped off to work... trust me all your hard work will pay off eventually.
Enjoy the ride!
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