Wilkes Academy of Performing Arts

I had made my decision, Wilkes Academy of Performing Arts was going to be my choice of Academy to study for the next 3-years.  It was a hard decision as I was offered Dance and Drama Awards/Scholarships at all 7 Schools I auditioned for, but for me, Wilkes Academy was always my first choice.


Wilkes Academy has young principals who are eager to make a name for the Academy and their innovative performances show the cutting edge training they offer.  


My summer seemed to fly and with the disappointment of finishing school so early with no closure and then only just making my GCSE grades (which couldn't be helped) before I knew it my parents and best friends were taking me to Swindon to settle into my room and to meet my roommate.  My last week was hectic trying to spend as much time with everyone and of course the party my friends threw for me on my last day.  The biggest surprise was the number of people from school who turned up just to say goodbye and wish me good luck.  Its was lovely.


The weekend was over before I knew it and I was settled into my new room, had a lift organised to College for Monday, attended my first College Party and arranged myself an interview for a job at a local exclusive restaurant Kenzo72.


Monday morning arrived and ladened with all my training kit I headed to the Academy.  The first day was busy with all instructions being given out on how the testing and controlling of Co-Vid was going to be dealt with and of course meeting all our teachers and other students.  It was also explained that our schedules would be handed out daily so to come prepared.  It was busy, busy, busy!


That evening I had my job interview and was offered the job on the spot, the owner explained that they always take on girls from the Academy as they know how to present themselves and are not afraid of hard work.


Over the rest of my first week, we were all tested and put into groups.  There are 3 groups.  I was placed in group 2 which I was very pleased with as I have never really had tap lessons and this was generally for students who were solid triple threats.


The first 5 weeks were a learning curve and I was reminded of muscles groups I forgot I had.  For the first 2 weeks, I crawled into bed either at the end of a very long day at the Academy or after an evening at work and I wasn't the only one.  But it was also a survival of the fittest and who was up to the challenge ahead.


When half term came we had to leave College early due to a number of students testing positive for Co-Vid, 2 of those were my roommates, but I never tested positive once.  So for 3 weeks, we did online classes and when we returned after half term we did alternate days in College or doing online classes at halls.


Each day we have to be at the Academy by 0815 ready for our first class and our day finishes between 1700/1800, the day is full-on plus we are expected to participate in an evening class or two in either dance/singing/acting each week.  Our day consists of 50-minute classes with a 10-minute break to move between classes and to grab a bite to eat and a drink.  Most of our day consists of dance classes and every day we have at least a Ballet and Commercial class together with singing or acting and of course, we have our BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Performing Arts as well.  


We also have Acro classes twice a week and it has been great to get back some moves from my gymnastic days.  In the future we will also be doing Circus tricks, auditioning techniques, work on being a presenter together with hair and make-up. 


The Academy gives you a well-rounded understanding in all aspects of the industry and after the 3-years you are fully trained to enter the industry or continue on to finish a degree.  

Presently I am also doing my GCSE Maths in the evenings, but took my resit recently so hopefully, I can remove this from my crazy schedule.


We are now heading into the Christmas break and I am looking forward to going home and seeing my friends and family, but will also look forward to returning in January 2021, for more challenges.


After my first term, I feel I have come so far, I have been told my Head of Ballet that I am excelling.  I have always been classed as a technical dancer, but I feel that is another area I feel I have improved on immensely.  I have found a new love for the acting side, which has always been a side of the industry that I enjoyed but always preferred singing and dancing, but now I love all 3 genres equally.

I love my days, I have my friends at home complaining their days are boring, they hardly attend College due to the current situation and spend all their days at home doing online classes.  Whereas I don't have time to be bored and I would not have it any other way.  The challenge doesn't just finish when I leave the Studio every evening, there is also the other side, I cook all my food from fresh as I don't particularly like microwave meals, work 2/3 days/evenings a week and all the other chores required when you don't live at home.  


But as the end of the term, things changed, as College/Universities were told to close early due to the spread of Co-Vid19 and this led into the new year so online classes were organised and I stayed at home until we were given permission to return.


I am excited about the future a future which I am already planning for, as I determined to be heading to the US to study my degree and at present at the process of looking at different schools and scholarships.  The process is long but it's important to choose the right College and it's great to have help from other people who understand the Colleges in the US better than me.


I am also hoping to be able to go to the US next summer through Camp America to visit the Colleges I will be applying too. 


Although I have only been at Wilkes for a term, it has already opened my eyes up to more careers within the industry and although I would like to continue with studying Musical Theatre even in the US I am not willing to close myself off to just theatre because my training is set for all aspects of the Performing Arts.




January 2021 - Most recent photoshoot by Tim Ladd