Q&A with former aspiring performer James

What did you study at Priestley?

In my first year at Priestley I finished my A-Levels in Music and Maths and started the BTEC Performing Arts course which I enjoyed so much I stayed on to do the Extended Diploma.


What has been the best part of studying at Italia Conti

The best part of studying at Italia Conti is having current industry professionals teaching us to be ready for the industry today. For example our director for Guys and Dolls, Guy Unsworth, directed the UK tour of Bring It On and the level of professionalism and expertise that this brings is amazing.


How do you think Priestley helped prepare you for Italia Conti and what are the greatest lessons / skills you have learned during your time there?

Priestley’s PA course is incredibly well rounded and sets really strong foundations in the disciplines of singing, acting and dancing. The teachers are brilliant at helping you understand the importance of pushing yourself to be the best you can be. Drama school is a tough experience and you have to have that drive and commitment to be the best you can be to get through the long nine-hour days but I believe Priestley prepared me well for that.


What are the highlights of your time there and maybe one from your time at Priestley?

Stage combat in second year, working with swords with combat master Keith was a lot of of fun and was an interesting mix of dancing and acting. We also created a small production of Shakespeare’s As You Like It which was great because we were able to go to the Globe and watch it before we started. At Priestley I’ll not forget our Berkoff piece, Decadence, as it was so different from anything I’ve done and was very theatrical!


What are your plans for after Italia Conti?

Hopefully when I leave Conti I will have an agent and I will be able to get a part, starting in the ensemble, of a West End show. However, there are a lot of people who want this so the competition is rife. Thankfully the MT Degree at Conti and many other places understand this and prepare you for a wide range of jobs from voiceover work to screen acting to video games so I am really open and excited to experience a wide range of opportunities from the moment I leave.


Why would you recommend Priestley to students considering A-Levels / BTECs?

I would recommend Priestley because it was able to make me feel heard and understood in a way that much smaller colleges wouldn’t. They have a huge range of courses and offer incredible freedom to do what you want to do and are willing to make that happen. I’ve made some friends for life at Priestley and I learnt a lot about myself and what I wanted to do their and I believe they can do that for anyone.

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