helen clifford.docxMature student Helen always had a passion for drama and had managed to find plenty of acting jobs over the years alongside full time and part time jobs in industry. Helen took the lead in the English film ‘Rose’ directed by Kemal Yildirim. She also featured in a comedy called ‘Surprise’ directed by Peter Hewitt based in L.A, that has yet to be released. On TV, Helen had a part in Vernon Kay’s ‘Wind-Up TV’ on BBC1 and also featured in a re-construction on the BBC’s long-running ‘Crimewatch’ series. On stage, Helen has taken roles in ‘Antigone’ at the Cockpit Theatre in Marylebone, as well as many productions at the Soho Theatre, London and ‘Colour Me Frances’ with local director Weekes Baptiste.

Throughout her career, Helen has juggled office-based work with her acting parts and used her holidays and days off to attend auditions. After 13 years on stage and in front of the camera, Helen decided that she would like to broaden her opportunities to work in theatre and found the HND Theatre Practice course at Northampton College. She said, ‘No matter how well I have progressed through the ranks, I have never been happy working in an office and always feel that the theatre is where I belong.’ The HND Theatre Practice course enabled Helen to study other aspects of theatre work including touring a theatre company, arts management, directing, writing, voice work and physical theatre.

As part of her college course, Helen helped lead on a project to deliver ‘A Day to Remember’ for families affected by the First World War including themed refreshments, an exhibition, and entertainment at the Royal & Derngate. Helen impressed the Royal & Derngate so much she gained an internship to work behind the scenes with the creative learning team at the theatre, learning about planning productions, workshops and events and sitting in on company meetings to observe early stage set proposals and agreements with the logistics and affordability of a range of stage concepts.

As a student representative at college, Helen took the lead for the student group as part of an inspection of higher education provision by the Quality Assurance Agency, ensuring that student feedback was heard as part of this successful review. Helen became pregnant during her second year and shortly expects to give birth to her first child. After taking a year out, she plans to top up her HND and complete her degree in drama at the University of Northampton. She plans to use the skills she has learned to work with applied theatre in corporate settings on team building projects after she graduates.

Helen said, ‘I really enjoyed my HND and it was nice to be able to give something back by working on the QAA review. I feel that I have really broadened my skills now and will be able to secure a greater variety of work in the future whilst continuing my acting career.’

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