Can you tell us a little about your background, where are you from, and what brought you to London to study at Rose Bruford?

I am an Australian Citizen who grew up in Hong Kong. I knew that I wanted to study theatre at university, and London provided me the opportunities to pursue my studies and career.

I originally wanted to explore an acting degree, but my performance course in my final year of high school introduced me to the admin side of Stage Management and I felt immediately drawn to the diversity and complexities of backstage theatre.

In the last stages of my UCAS applications, I switched interests and applied to a few Stage Management courses. Rose Bruford was one of the few places I found who offered a Stage Management course, that would also welcome me as a complete novice.

Ellie Holloway Stage and Events Management student

How have your studies been so far at Rose Bruford?

Having recently finished the three-year course, I am excited to see where the knowledge, skills and experiences I have gained can take me in the industry.

The diversity in my training has given me the opportunity to learn across different contexts. Whether in a lecture, on a show, a masterclass or a class trip, the practical element to our teaching forced me to consider different approaches and responses to all kinds of situations within the industry.

I’m so grateful for the course specific and pastoral support given throughout my three years. Not only was I learning an entirely new discipline within theatre, but I was also navigating a new life across the world from Hong Kong. Also, my tutors were really supportive with guiding me through not only my show roles, but anything concerning me outside of the course.

I really benefited from this strong sense of community that Bruford has. The intimacy that a smaller campus and student brought not only provided greater opportunities to work so collaboratively with different courses, but also allowed me to get to know more about those I worked with, and their unique working styles and ideas.

This introduced me to more avenues involved in theatre, and also provided more opportunities to work collaboratively together on projects beyond our individual courses.

Ellie Holloway Stage and Events Management student

Scissors, cast and crew, London Season 2023

What are the most exciting projects that you’ve worked on?

This year, I got to Co-Production Manage our London Season at Greenwich Theatre, which challenged me to expand on and apply my learnings from my three years of training at Bruford. I feel it was a season that had a much more structured and collaborative nature, reflective of the industry beyond Bruford, compared to my previous show roles which were heavily devised and independent.

This season was exciting because I was part of an all-female production management team, and we were provided the vast responsibility of leading four productions within six weeks.

I feel that this role improved my confidence. It reminded me about my passions and capabilities, whilst growing my holistic understanding of theatre.

Rose Bruford Actor Musicianship students

Seussical, London Season 2023

In my second year, I had the opportunity to Production Manage the American Theatre Arts ‘House Show’ Somewhere in England, which introduced me to experimentation with site specific theatre and saw me take on an administrative role for a performance involving three audiences, musical direction and venue specific management.

Whilst challenging, it was one of my first big roles at Bruford, and within Stage Management in general. This role is credited as one of my first experiences in Production Management, which is what I’m now most interested in specialising in.

Rose Bruford College: American Theatre Arts

Somewhere in England by Steven Dykes

Finally, my placement in third year took me to the Unicorn Theatre, where I assisted on their Christmas Season productions of Pinocchio and Christmas in the Sunshine.

This introduced me to working with a professional theatre venue and team, expanding the contexts of my learning environment and understandings. This got me excited for my opportunities beyond my course here, and also gained access to the networks and avenues for me to successful do so.

Pinocchio at the Unicorn Theatre

Pinocchio at the Unicorn Theatre

What are you enjoying most about your studies?

I really enjoyed the diversity and flexibility of my course, and how I got to tailor my time at Bruford to my specific interests and skill sets. The practical approach to learning meant I was immediately thrown into environments and situations that taught me how to respond and work in contexts that better mimic professional experiences.

The student-led approach to shows, productions and events at Rose Bruford provided a sense of responsibility and intuition, that has given me the confidence to begin my professional career.

The collaborative aspect from different courses working together on the same shows, allowed me to better recognise the scale of contributions it takes to put on a production. Part of our course is also learning about other departments and learning basic skills within such disciplines.

This provided me better flexibility as a practitioner, through my understanding and practical skills within several roles across theatre.

I also find this collaboration exciting through watching everyone’s contributions come together from ‘page to stage’. Watching sketch’s turn into sets or costumes on stage, and seeing all this creativity come together is, to me, so so exciting, and is what drives my passions within theatre.

Being in an environment where this is constantly happening, on such different scales, themes, inspirations, etc, is what I enjoyed most about Bruford – you never know what you’re going to see or experience, as you watch or work on a show, or even step onto campus!

What is your advice to any students considering or studying at Rose Bruford?

Explore your skill sets and interests whilst you’re here – it’s a rare opportunity to be offered such diverse experiences in the show roles that we get to be a part of.

I think it is also important to realise this is a time and space for you to learn. I remember when I first began my course, I was intimidated by the students who were already practicing in the industry. However, I was reminded by my tutor, that my purpose as a student was to learn, and the point of the course was to introduce me to the skills, paperwork, tools, theories, etc, for me to be able to work in the same industry.

Part of your learning and experiences are from your fellow colleagues/course mates and their contributions to our lectures and observing their approaches to tasks on a show. When I embraced this concept, I was introduced to many more opportunities and networks, which ultimately developed my unique approach and contributions to my future prospects.

Learn more about Rose Bruford’s Stage and Events Management BA (Hons) course here.