Name: Sophia Eleni
Programme: BA (Hons) European Theatre Arts
Awarded 'Best Actress' at BFI Screen Awards 2016
Since graduating from the BA (Hons) European Theatre Artst (ETA) programme back in 2015 I started out predominantly looking to work in theatre, although I wasn’t sure in what capacity. My interests had been really varied, which was why ETA was such a blessing as we had the luxury to work in fields of acting, devising, directing and designing. I had a very musical ear as well as a keenness for performance, and ETA’s strong emphasis on devising in particular allowed me the freedom to utilise other skills I had in making my own work.
The programme provided me with tools that were unique to any other acting course that I can think of; varying in an enviable range of training methodologies and styles with the opportunity to train in some of the most prestigious and inspiring European drama schools. If anything, the ETA programme will teach you the best and most sought after quality in a practitioner – buoyancy. It sounds a little bizarre, but with both the rigorous physical and intellectual demands of the programme, buoyancy allows any practitioner to adapt themselves accordingly into varying work/audition environments with spontaneity and boldness.
When graduating I tried a taste of everything and worked briefly as a casting director, a sound designer, actor (and even as a Eurovison contender!) until one day the industry decided I had a good face for film. Over the course of the last two years I have been very fortunate finding my way into working for 20th Century Fox on American television, big budget feature films for international cinema as well as on a smaller scale; I’ve also continued my work in theatre including performing in fringe productions at VAULT Festival, for example. And I still do the odd bit of casting and sound design on the side! This is what I love about my work now – the opportunity to travel and the diversity of it all. Thanks ETA.
The programme also taught me, in particular, the value of marketing. Whether you are an aspiring theatre-maker, director, producer or a solo performer, like me, you will have to find a way to sustain yourself and survive in what is (and let’s not beat around the bush here) essentially a cut-throat market regardless of what niche you are working in. Be assured that ETA will give you a wake-up call!
My favourite quote from the course tutors, one that has stuck with me since I left, has been TRUST THE WORK. It’s the best piece of advice I can give any potential candidate really. Your choices and career are really down to what you make of it – if you don’t trust the work, the work won’t trust you! It’s about having complete faith in yourself – whether or not you end up auditioning for the programme. That’s a key core value ETA will teach – and a life skill! If you’ve got an open mind, a good instinct and strong interest in paving your own work ETA can guide you into a potentially very interesting and fulfilling career down a multitude of avenues.