Performing arts teacher Jorrie Walls gives her advice to drama students of all ages during the pandemic
How did you start in theatre?
I started with school drama lessons, where I was inspired by my teacher Miss Cooper, who had an infectious passion for the arts. She cared about each and every one of her students and made them feel safe and happy.
What is the best piece of advice you have for students and graduates today?
Be yourself, believe in yourself and follow your dreams. Anyone worried about starting their career at this difficult time for the industry should pause and remember how far they have come. Have faith in yourself and the process. Anything worth having is worth fighting for, so just keep on pushing yourself.
What would you change about the industry if you could?
Once the theatres are open again, I would like to make West End shows more accessible as often ticket prices can be very high. As just one example, I would love all the students to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child but the cost of tickets would make that very difficult.
What is the best part of your job?
Inspiring the students.
And your least favourite?
In common with most educators, the paperwork. It can be hard to keep on top of it.
Who are the practitioners you admire the most/who should students look up to?
Frantic Assembly. What they do is real and outside of the box, they are not afraid to take risks and try something new. This is a strong message to students not to be afraid.
What is the one skill that every successful theatre professional should have?
What would be your best tips that readers could put into practise today to increase their mental and physical well-being?
Take time for yourself, read a new play, explore new practitioners, and, when you can, relax.
Jorrie Walls is head of performing arts at Kempston Challenger Academy