Spotlight on: Olivia Birchenough

"I graduated from Rose Bruford in 2012. My three years on BA (Hons) European Theatre Arts (ETA) gave me the skills, confidence and ability to be able to go out and create my own opportunities for work, leading to me landing a job presenting for Channel 5’s Milkshake! before I’d even graduated. I’ve been so fortunate that Milkshake! has become my bread and butter over the past 5 years, presenting live television on a daily basis, whilst touring up and down the country with various large scale theatre shows. I also fronted the Milkshake Bop Box, Summer Fun and Festive Fun series, and am off to represent the brand performing at Glastonbury in 2017! Off the back of Milkshake, I’ve also lived out my Disney Princess dreams in various pantomimes, most recently winning Best Female Lead at both The Great British Pantomime Awards 2017 and the Panto Insider Awards 2017.

Running alongside my children’s based work I have also worked in less commercial contexts. Drawing directly from my ETA movement training, I toured with Altered Skin’s physical theatre show Power Games. Similarly, this spring, I open in The Paper Bird’s one woman show, Mobile. This socio-political, verbatim theatre work will tour the UK in a caravan for 6 months. Both of these came out of connections I initially made during my time at Rose Bruford, including during the college’s annual Symposium.

The ETA course taught me never to be complacent. To go out there and make work for myself, be this in a literal form, or through building an array of contacts. I’d advise an ETA student to take advantage of every single opportunity they get to make connections with all the wonderful visiting tutors and theatre companies you are lucky enough to work with at Bruford – then reach out and find more which particularly interest you. Be keen! Contact everyone whilst you still have that safety net of education around you – do the ground work whilst you’re there. Third year portfolios are a great way of doing this! Be bold, get in contact with people – what’s the worst that can happen?!

Useful links:
BA (Hons) European Theatre Arts
Follow Olivia on Twitter @olivia__5
The Paper Birds