Aged just 21, Hannah Buckingham is already living her dream working on top West End shows and looking forward to travelling Europe and beyond as part of her job.
The former Plymstock School pupil had always been drawn to creative subjects, saying she struggled to feel motivated by tasks that involved sitting at a desk for long periods of time. In Year 10, just as Hannah was starting to seriously consider her future, she developed an interest in theatre, which led her to a Year 11 taster session in performing and production arts at City College.
Hannah said it only took a couple of hours for her to know that this was the course for her, and she applied straight away having been won over by the opportunity to start gaining hands-on experience from the moment she joined the College. Hannah said: “It was the perfect course for me. I was learning valuable life skills whilst exploring something I was passionate about.
“I enjoyed that I could be in a practical environment nearly every day and that I could get stuck in with the building of equipment and sets, whilst gaining the knowledge, skills and connections to be a good practitioner. Every term I completed a variety of job roles for different types of shows, from being the production manager for a rock and roll concert to a show caller on a dance event. The opportunities were endless.”
Her time at the College allowed Hannah to realise that her true passion was in show production, and on completing her Level 3 Diploma in Performance and Production Arts, Hannah went on to study for a Degree in Technical and Production Management at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.
During her final year, Hannah started working part-time on West End shows such as Moulin Rouge and The Book of Mormon, and just before graduation, she was offered a full-time job supporting the automation department on the UK and Ireland tour of Beauty and the Beast, working the mechanically driven scenery and props. After the tour finished, Hannah started a similar role on Disney’s The Lion King and will soon be travelling with the rest of the cast and crew around the UK, Ireland and Switzerland.
Hannah said: “Studying at City College allowed me to develop vital skills, knowledge and experience. Without this, I wouldn’t have found my passion for theatre and the job I wanted. As a result of everything I got to experience whilst completing my diploma, I received three unconditional university offers – something I would never have imagined whilst at school.
“I received a lot of support from my lecturers whilst completing my coursework. There were loads of one-to-one sessions and discussions to help my individual needs. In addition to this, the College brought in professionals to help further our knowledge in specific areas.
“If you are looking to do something in this industry, or anything that might require specialist training, you must consider City College Plymouth. The skills you will develop and the contacts you make will be invaluable and this will all be hugely beneficial in helping you to secure the job you want.”