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FdA in Technical Theatre and Stage Management and BA (Hons) progression, 2021

I never wanted to be an actor, I knew I belonged backstage.

I was lucky that my upbringing and community both supported the arts when I was younger. I vividly remember being 12, on the stage of my comprehensive school, building Audrey 2 for a production of Little Shop of Horrors and my lovely art teacher turning to me and saying ‘You can do this as a proper job mind. It doesn't need to be just an after-school thing.’ I remember deciding soon after then, ‘I want to go to RADA’.

I never got involved in anything other than expressive arts at school; it was the place I was accepted; I was welcomed and that I could be myself. I joined my local youth theatre and completed a BTEC in production arts, I had amazing tutors and a solid support system who spurred me on until I walked into the Gower Street building on the day of my interview. At that point I knew it was for me, as soon as I walked in, I was like: ‘yep, this is cool. This is where I want to be’.

I'm from a proper small industrial town called Port Talbot, so when I got to London aged 18 and fresh out of college and I really struggled at first. I was very homesick and felt alone in this big city! Especially under the demands of such intense training. It was a lot, but I got through it and when the first term had gone by and I realised, ‘I’m here, it’s time to enjoy it’, after that, I soon started making friends and settled in.

You're put on a show in each rotation. Whether you are an ASM 2 in the props department or crew during stage craft - you are a part of the team straight away, which is fantastic. Straight away you're working with a company who all want the same thing as you do - to make something creative and exciting.

RADA is challenging, demanding, exhausting and a whole bunch of other ‘-ings’s; but is by far the most rewarding three years you’ll ever be lucky enough to experience.

Sophie McLean