Category Archives: Drama

James, Drama & Kat Beaty, Theatre and Performing Arts

James was matched with Kat Beaty, a freelance actor and theatre practitioner, through the Career Mentor Scheme.

Kat specialises in theatre-in-education, working mostly with children and young people. The majority of her work is in schools, providing curriculum-enhancing drama workshops and creative days to children and young people. She has experience working at different schools and education programmes.

Her experience and guidance was really useful to James. He gave us an insight into their mentoring partnership.


What were the highlights of the scheme for you?

Meeting my mentor was incredibly worthwhile as it made it easier to discuss the career I am interested in and therefore I got a lot out of it.

What did you find most useful from the mentoring experience?

Gaining insight into working in the creative industries (the employment sector I am interested in) including the good/bad aspects of the industry, as well as the many different possible careers there are within the industries.

What message would you give to a student thinking of applying for the Career Mentor Scheme?

Make sure you have a plan of what you want to discuss/find out. Always reply promptly. Always try and meet your mentor at least once if you can.


“It was wonderful working with a student who was so keen, and who was really prepared to take advantage of the scheme. I very much enjoyed meeting and working with James, and thought his enthusiasm was admirable.” – Kat Beaty


Katherine, English and Drama & Simon Balcon, Theatre and Performing Arts

English and Drama student Katherine was mentored by Simon Balcon, a freelance actor.

Simon Balcon trained at Drama Studio London and the Actors Temple. His theatre credits include Templeton in Charlotte’s Web, Demetrius in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Antonio in Twelfth Night for the Cambridge Shakespeare Company, and Mercutio in Romeo & Juliet at the Tower of London. He has appeared as Todd Hockney in The Usual Suspects at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and toured nationally with Ape Theatre’s Too Much Punch for Judy. He played Tony Blair in the award winning Newsrevue in London, a role he reprised in Much Ado About Nothing for Illyria Theatre Company. He played Reynaldo and Francisco in Hamlet, for the Actors Temple Company in the crypt of St Andrew’s Church, Holborn. Most recently he appeared as Dr Rank in A Doll’s House for the Goats Theatre Company at the Cockpit Theatre.


Katherine benefited massively from the mentoring partnership with Simon Balcon. Here is what she shared with us:

What were the highlights of the scheme for you?

As well as learning about industry from someone who has actually experienced it, this scheme gave me an opportunity to voice my concerns for employment with someone who was able to provide inspirational advice. The scheme was incredibly valuable in helping me to gain the courage to follow what I want to do, despite the challenges I will face.

What did you find most useful from the mentoring experience?

Simon gave me comprehensive advice on the benefits of a post-graduate degree at a drama school, and also provided me with a reputable list of drama schools as a benchmark to begin my research. When enquired, he gave me tips on how to fund a postgraduate degree, calming my fears of everlasting debt and just generally making me feel better about the whole prospect!

What message would you give to a student thinking of applying for the Career Mentor Scheme?

If you’re feeling stuck regarding your career, or you just need a bit of a push to encourage you into doing something you really want to do, I’d really advise this scheme. My mentor was helpful, open and friendly, and really put my mind at ease regarding something that can often feel isolating and stressful.

Laurel, English and Drama & Ann Laffeaty, Media, Publishing and Journalism

During her second year English and Drama student Laurel successfully applied to be mentored by Ann Laffeaty, a freelance journalist and PR consultant. Ann guided Laurel into the Media, Publishing and Journalism sector for a period of half a year.

Ann Laffeaty has a wide variety of professional experiences. She started as a reporter for the Falmouth packet weekly newspaper and then for the Harrow Observer. She then moved on as a Chief Sub-Editor at Travel Trade Gazette to then become a freelance feature writer for women’s magazines, writing for Prima, Business Travel World, Easyjet Inflight, Mother & Baby amongst others. During the mentoring partnership Ann was a freelancer at Ann Laffeaty Communications.

Laurel found being mentored by Ann extremely useful and shared more about the experience with the Career Mentor Scheme team.


What were the highlights of the scheme for you?

It was so interesting to hear about my mentor’s experiences and to receive advice about the field of journalism. I learned lots of new things and feel like I also improved my own skills. Meeting my mentor in person was the highlight as it enabled me to put a face to the name and get to know her better. She set me different tasks, gave me lots of feedback and answered all my questions about the industry of journalism; it was a really enjoyable day.

What did you find most useful from the mentoring experience?

I received guidance from my mentor on my CV and applications, which helped me secure a work experience placement with a magazine in London this summer.

What message would you give to a student thinking of applying for the Career Mentor Scheme?

Taking part in the Career Mentor Scheme has greatly improved my confidence. It was extremely useful to learn from an industry professional; I am hugely excited by the things I have learned and look forward to putting them into practice in my future endeavours. There’s really nothing to lose!

The highlight for Ann Laffeaty was:

Felt I helped, and she secured two work placements at the end of it!”

Jacob, Drama & Tom Jackson, Media, Publishing and Journalism

Jacob Blackburn participated in the Career Mentor Scheme is his second year. Doing a Drama degree, Jacob wanted to go into the Media, Publishing and Journalism sector and was thus matched with a mentor in the same sector – Tom Jackson, a freelance TV series producer.

Having graduated from Exeter with a Drama degree,  Tom Jackson had been in the industry as a freelance TV producer for 12 years at the time when the mentoring partnership began. His main responsibility was managing teams during the filming process.


Jacob discussed with us how the Career Mentor Scheme helped his employability and career development.

Jacob increased his knowledge of effective interview techniques and finding work experience in this sector. He improved his personal development skills and knowledge of further professional courses related to this sector. He also received help to improve his CV and got a chance to meet with people working in the filed and thus widened his contacts and networking opportunities.

What did you find most useful?

Insight into the profession.

What message would you give to a student thinking of applying for the Career Mentor Scheme?

Meet with your mentor as much as you can, ask as many questions as possible and take any opportunity that comes your way!


The highlight for Tom Jackson as a mentor was when Jacob went to visit him at his workplace and following that they had an in-depth conversation at lunch.