Category Archives: Drama

Daniel, Drama & Kate Tyrrell, Theatre and Performing Arts

Daniel, Drama student, was interested in a career in Theatre and applied to the Career Mentor Scheme to learn about the options available after graduation. Through the scheme, Daniel was matched with Kate Tyrrell.

Kate Tyrell is a Freelance Arts Consultant in Exeter. Kate’s main responsibilities include UK tour booking, fundraising and project managing for a touring theatre company in France.

“Go for it!”

Daniel achieved all of his objectives including learning about various career options, improved personal development skills and increased knowledge of job hunting resources.

Daniel spoke more about her experience of the scheme:

What were your highlights of the scheme?

Having an in-depth conversation with a professional about the industry.

What did you find most useful from the mentoring experience?

Insight, and networking.

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

Go for it! The best way to address concerns about your career is to face it head on, and the career mentor scheme is a perfect avenue to do this.

Daniel intends to stay in contact with Kate and would recommend the scheme to a friend.

Nicola, Drama & Alexander Palmer, Theatre and Performing Arts

Nicola, a Drama student, was interested in learning more about breaking into the Performing Arts industry, gain a greater understanding of scriptwriting and increase her knowledge about production and management. Through the scheme, Nicola was matched with Alexander Palmer.

Alexander, Exeter alumnus, is the Artistic Director of Riptide. His role involves directing and creating productions, casting shows and organising personnel. His previous work experiences include Assistant Director for David Shearing and Director for Lord Whitney and was therefore in a great position to help Nicola in achieving her goals.

“Provided excellent guidance

Nicola achieved all of her objectives including developed knowledge on how to explore other options or ways to enter the theatre production sector, widened her professional network within this sector and thereby widened the possibility for employment opportunities.

Nicola talked about her experience:

What were the highlights of the scheme?

Extremely helpful and provided excellent guidance on what paths I could explore or take to learn more about the theatre world and sector. Explored different opportunities I could take over the summer and other internship/work opportunities in the future.

What did you find most useful from the mentoring experience?

Insight into how the drama sector works and how to network with other individuals and companies when looking into internships

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

It’s honestly such a helpful and good program to help you develop thinking beyond the academic field.

Katie, Drama & Fin Irwin-Bowler, Theatre and Performing Arts

Katie, a Drama student, wanted to learn more about a career in theatre after gaining some valuable work experience in stage management and as a runner. Katie wanted some advice on breaking into the theatre sector and different routes in than the more conventional ways. Through the Career Mentor Scheme, Katie was matched with Fin Irwin-Bowler.

Fin, an Exeter alumnus, is a Freeland Theatre Producer and Project Manager. His previous employment includes Associate lecturer at Exeter College, Co-Founder and Director of the Bike Shed Theatre and Performing Arts Programmer at The House, Plymouth University.

 “It helped me decide on my career path”

Katie achieved all of her objectives including deciding on her career path and job role she would like to go into, increased knowledge of sector entry requirements and received help to optimise her CV for the specific sector.

Katie talked about her experience:

What were the highlights of the scheme?

  • Being given advice about how to go about achieving my goals.
  • Also reassurance that I can achieve what I thought was impossible

What did you find most useful from the mentoring experience?

  • Insight into my chosen profession.
  • I joined valuable knowledge of how to go about achieving career goals

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

It helped me decide on my career path, I got advice from a professional in the sector and the scheme was really low commitment. Brilliant.

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.