Sam Elliott dreams of taking to the stage and performing in front of the camera, just like he did during his work experience.
“I’ve had a passion in the performing arts since year 8 at secondary school, when my drama teacher used to compliment me and tell me how good I was at acting,” he said.
“After year 10, I started doing lessons with Stagecoach because my parents recommended it to me. I’m always keen to learn new stuff, branch out and do some new performances.
“I decided to study performing arts at Reading College because it was a local college which has good facilities. Loads of my friends come here too.
“Last year I studied a Performance and Production Arts Level 2 Diploma and I’m now studying the Level 3 extended diploma.”
Sam credits the performing arts programme at Reading College for giving him greater confidence and resilience.
He said: “Performing arts is quite an engaging subject. It’s very hands-on. The teachers are always with you, talking to you, communicating with you and giving you feedback. It’s good to get your creative juices flowing.
“I was a closed book before coming to college, but it’s made me a lot more confident and open. It has helped me get through some tough times, by reaching out to people and talking things out. The environment is really friendly and open, it makes me feel hopeful.
“College is a great environment, there’s great people in it.”
Sam also said he recognised how good his teachers at college were.
He added: “The teachers are excellent, they’re all great in their respected fields and they know loads about their chosen fields and push you. They’re always trying to make you do your best.”
Sam was lucky enough to land a place on a work experience placement at The Old Vic theatre in London. He was one of the 15 young people nationwide who won a place on The Old Vic’s unique work experience programme: The Old Vic Takeover which took place from 17-21 February 2020.
As part of the placement, Sam and the rest of the participants performed on stage at The Old Vic. He also learnt about how a theatre operates, met industry professionals, found out more about careers in the arts and undertook a series of challenges, enabling him to develop his teamwork, communication, problem solving and public speaking skills.
Sam said one of the highlights of the week included when he and other participants got to watch a performance of Endgame starring Daniel Radcliffe and Alan Cumming.
“It was great to watch two big actors live and seeing how they handle making mistakes. That’s what I like about theatre that it’s so raw and genuine and you have to get it right on the spot,” he said.
“I really enjoyed performing on stage at The Old Vic. I loved getting into groups, meeting new people and getting some new ideas.
“It was really fascinating because I studied a performance of The Crucible at the Old Vic while studying GCSE drama. I have always wanted to go there and be on that stage. The Old Vic has got so much history, it’s been around for so long. Learning about theatres is quite fascinating because of all the history behind them.”
After completing his studies, Sam hopes to go to drama school and tread the boards.
“When I leave college, I intend to go to drama school or go into full-time work, branch out and meet some new people.
“Acting is what I’d like to do in the future, and I think doing work experience with The Old Vic will make me stand out a bit more and putting it in my portfolio would definitely be a very big boost as people would see how involved I am in the arts.”