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Pippa Thornton – Bath Spa University

 Alumni profile 

Course studied: BA (Hons) Drama and MA Arts Management
Graduating year: 2014 and 2018
Job: Deputy Director, Rondo Theatre

After graduating from Bath Spa (the first time) I spent a couple of unhappy years in call-centres before starting a theatre directing internship at the Rondo Theatre in Bath. This sparked my love of Arts Management and I returned to Bath Spa in 2017 to do an MA in it. I'm now the Deputy Director of the Rondo Theatre, and I've been steadily building up a portfolio as a director and playwright (the main character in my first play was an unhappy call-centre worker dreaming of better things!) 

Why did you choose the courses you studied at Bath Spa?

I chose Drama partly because I could combine it with Psychology. After spending all of my time in rehearsal rooms I dropped the Psychology and dedicated all of my time to Drama!

I decided to study Arts Management because I knew I wouldn't be able to make a career as a director straight away, but if I could get a job in the management side of an arts organisation then I'd still be working in an industry I love. During the course I realised that I didn't want to choose between being an Arts Manager or a Director because I love both roles equally.

How did the course support your steps into industry?

BA (Hons) Drama gave me the skills to create a fully realised, original performance, and to be confident in my abilities as a theatre-maker. I'm able to communicate an artistic vision to the people I'm working with, and feel comfortable experimenting and finding creative solutions to problems and restrictions.

MA Arts Management allowed me to build connections with organisations through placements, and has led to a permanent job with the Natural Theatre Company.

I am most proud of

My Performance Project in Drama, because it was a such an ambitious idea but we were able to pull it off and create a performance that I still feel like revisiting sometimes. For my MA Arts Management, I am most proud of having pushed myself to enrol in the course, and for making it work alongside the rest of my life when I had sometimes doubted that I could do it.

My advice for current students

Take every opportunity that you can, because you never know what it will lead to. But, also know the importance of not over-working yourself and saying no if you're taking on too much: your mental health is important! And don't leave assignments til the last minute!

I recommend Bath Spa because

It's a friendly place with passionate staff, and there are lots of opportunities for professional development. Oh and of course, the campuses are beautiful!

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