Student Case Study: Jennifer Hamilton, Reid Kerr College

From 17th Century plays, to challenging work experience in Africa, Drama student Jennifer Hamilton has experienced a packed first year at Reid Kerr College.  The 19-year-old from Adrossan says that her training on the HNC Acting & Performance course has been instrumental in providing her with a range of life and employment skills which have already taken her into new and exciting corners of the Drama sector.

 “I was encouraged to study at Reid Kerr after hearing a great review via a colleague of my mum’s, who worked at a local high school.  Following my audition, I was delighted to be selected for the course held at the Centre for Performance based in the heart of Paisley’s town centre.  Having completed the HNC Acting & Performance in June this year, I can honestly say that I couldn’t wait to get back at the start of term to begin the HND.  

The training has been crammed full of great experiences particularly our production of ‘Vinegar Tom’.  I developed a great deal as an actor during our eight weeks of production where, as a class, we worked closely with the lecturer who also directed the play.  It was really valuable to be able to work with our lecturer on what was such a profound piece of work and we were made aware of how important it was to push our knowledge and skills, helping us to recognise the importance of our training and how it plays a big part in making it professionally.”

As part of the HNC, Jennifer worked on a unit, titled ‘Leading a Drama workshop’, which helped her with a volunteer post at a club for adults with special needs. 

“This training was vital as it helped me learn as I went along and I soon figured out what worked with this group and what didn't. The response from the adults attending the club was fantastic and very rewarding. I have also worked part-time with a new production company which I secured through my contacts at College.”  

The Summer break saw Jennifer travel to Malawi which would be her second visit to this southeast African country.  Jennifer found her confidence had grown which was essential for her work there – teaching drama to large classes of primary-aged children.  After a successful visit in 2009 along with fellow school pupils, this return trip continued to build on the partnership between two primary schools and a secondary school in Mzuzu and her local high school, St.Matthew's Academy in Saltcoats, Ayrshire. 

“I was able to integrate a lot of my training using different methods of teaching identifying what worked well for the children especially given the language barrier.  We are already planning a return visit for 2013 and a longer stay so that we can work with all age groups.

I plan to continue with my drama education, aiming towards a BA in Acting and Performance, which would see me studying at Sunderland University.  With a taste for travelling, I can also see myself working with ‘Camp America’ leading drama workshops, and my long term plans definitely include a post-graduate degree in Drama teaching."

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