Further Education case studies

We caught up with two Further Education students about their time on our Performing & Production Arts courses. Here are their case studies:

Jessica started at Wiltshire College & University Centre studying the Level 3 Diploma in Performing and Production Arts, then chose to continue onto the Level 3 Extended Diploma. Jessica said: “I chose to study at the College as it was close to home, and I really liked the practical, hands-on element that the course offered in collaboration with Wiltshire Creative.”

Student JessJessica, aged 19, said: “Studying the Level 3 Extended Diploma has really helped me progress as an actor. It’s made me step outside my comfort zone and become more creative just by trying new things. Everyone on the course got on well which was brilliant. The teaching staff were incredibly encouraging and supportive and always happy to share their industry knowledge and experience with you.”

For those with a passion for performing arts, this course enables students to develop their skills and knowledge in all aspects of performing and production arts, helping to prepare them for higher education, employment or drama school.

After college, Jessica is planning to study European Theatre Arts at the Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance in London. Jessica said: “The performing arts course at college was great and I enjoyed every minute of it. It consolidated all of my knowledge I’d learnt so far and has helped to boost my confidence when performing – it’s really helped me to reach my full potential and prepare me for drama school.”

Amy first came to Wiltshire College & University Centre to do a Level 3 Diploma in Performing and Production Arts but chose to continue her study with the Level 3 Extended Diploma. Amy said: “I decided to study at the College as some other students on the course who I knew had recommended it to me and the practical, hands-on nature of the course really appealed to me too.”

Student Amy.JPGAmy, aged 19, said: “Studying the Level 3 Extended Diploma has enabled me to learn a variety of new skills and equipped me the technical knowledge that I did not get the chance to acquire at school. It was challenging at times, but the teaching staff were extremely supportive and allowed me to learn at my own pace to ensure I got the best out of the course.”

The Level 3 Extended Diploma is a practical, hands-on course designed for those who have a passion for performing arts who are keen to develop their performance and production skills in preparation for higher education or employment, in the professional environments at the Salisbury Playhouse and Salisbury Arts Centre.

After completing her studies at the College, Amy is going on to study a Production & Technical Arts Foundation Degree (FdA) at the London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art (LAMDA). Amy said: “Having the chance to work with technical and production management professionals at Wiltshire Creative really helped me to decide what direction I wanted to go in when progressing to higher level study at drama school. I wouldn’t have achieved what I have without the knowledge and opportunities I was given at Wiltshire College & University Centre.

For more information about our Performing Arts courses visit https://www.wiltshirecreative.co.uk/take-part/fe/

Relatively Speaking’s Caroline Harker on returning to Salisbury

We caught up with Caroline Harker who plays Sheila in Alan Ayckbourn’s hilarious comedy Relatively Speaking, which opens the Autumn season at Salisbury Playhouse in September. Caroline played the Queen in our production of comedy Handbagged in April 2019.

Caroline Harker Headshot CH 4 - PLEASE USE THIS ONE Relatively Speaking

You’re coming back to Salisbury this September to perform in Alan Ayckbourn’s Relatively Speaking. What can we expect?

“I’m playing a lovely part called Sheila in Alan Ayckbourn’s play. She’s a bit of a still point in a moving comedy world. Sheila and Philip are married and their relationship is clearly under strain. They’re at a certain age, they’ve got a lovely garden out in Buckinghamshire and into that garden come Greg and Ginny. And the situation becomes increasingly complicated and hilarious and it’s full of misunderstandings and you think all the time it’s going to fall apart but it doesn’t, it just sustains. It’s a very funny play.”

The play was Ayckbourn’s first big West End hit – why do you think that is? 

“I think it works like comedy clockwork maths. You just keep thinking that it’s not going to add up and it’s all going to fall apart. It delights because it teeters on the edge of collapsing but it never does. It’s just very funny and very clever. You just sit there in disbelief.”

You’re no stranger to comedies – both Handbagged and Relatively Speaking are comedies. Glenda Jackson is quoted as saying: “Comedy … is much harder to do than drama. It’s not true that laugh and the world laughs with you. It’s very hard to make a group of people laugh at the same thing; much easier to make them cry at the same thing. … That’s why great comic acting is probably the greatest acting there is.” Do you agree with this statement? Would you like to see more credit given to great comedic performances and comedic writing?

“Yes I do agree with what Glenda Jackson said. I wouldn’t tangle with anything Glenda Jackson said. And I do think that in comedy there should be an element of depth and in tragedy there should be an element of light. When you see an actor playing a huge tragic role and mining that tragedy for all the light and all the humour that they can, in my mind that’s the best sort of acting there is. Life is like that; sadness sitting right next to humour. You’ve got to believe the situation but you’ve also got to laugh.”

You were in Salisbury earlier in the year when you were playing the Queen in Handbagged – is it a happy coincidence or were you missing Salisbury so much you had to come back?!

“I was delighted to be asked back. I feel I’ve just scratched the surface of Salisbury and at the Playhouse the audiences are really warm and really buzzy and the atmosphere backstage is wonderful. I can’t tell you how much I like the wardrobe, everybody in there. All the backstage crew, the production office, all the offices. There’s a real mix of people but everyone is warm and welcoming and it’s been a pleasure to be there and I feel very happy to be there and have no hesitation about returning.”

What do you like about the city?

“Well I haven’t seen as much of the city as I would like because when we were doing Handbagged we never left the stage. At first I thought that Salisbury consisted of the ring road, the car park, Sainsbury’s and the rehearsal room. But it started to reveal itself slowly – and I feel that if I’d been there longer I would have discovered so much more. There’s that sight of the spire as you drive in. I used to drive in from Odstock where I was staying and I loved it although I never got up the spire because it was booked up when I tried to go.

“I liked the little market stalls that suddenly appear and I bought some sweet pea plants that are now growing very happily up a wigwam outside my front door in London and that makes me think of Salisbury. I loved the beautiful architecture. Suddenly you get this ancient beautiful building sitting there on the street. I like the nearby rolling countryside. I also like the way that Salisbury winds down at the end of the day. There’s this sort of closing up that goes on and I love that. The silence on the cobbly streets – whereas London seems to hot up at night – so I like that very peaceful feeling. And this whole crowd comes in to go to the theatre. You can see them arriving from your dressing room and I used to really like that. Our dressing room windows overlook the car park and you see people coming in to go to the theatre and they sort of pass people doing parkour at the car park. It’s just a real good mix. I found a very warm and happy atmosphere.”

Favourite places to eat? Cafes? Pubs? Any other nooks and crannies that you discovered in Salisbury? Could be hidden things, walks?

“I found a little café up an alley, but I don’t know what the name of it was. It was off Fisherton Street and it had cats in and lots of artwork and I found that a real haven. I absolutely loved that place (sounds like The Yard – Ed). I went to Boston Tea Party because they were incredibly friendly there and Eve Matheson who was in Handbagged with me, she used to go there and she told me about it and I used to sometimes sit in the window there. They were just very warm and friendly and relaxed and it was very buzzy and you could do your work. Families were out shopping for a cup of tea and a large piece of carrot cake. I loved that. We also used to go to the Haunch of Venison pub. Absolutely fantastic, we loved that place. If we could, we’d sit by the fire in the upstairs room by the little lit up hand in that little nook or we’d go downstairs. They were always welcoming and really warm and it was just perfect. We were a very small cast and we just used to sit there and chat over the day. Loved that. And I loved a Thai restaurant called the Rai d’Or in a pub. The food is so good, it’s completely fresh and delicious and they’re very welcoming. Our director told us about them and we went there a few times. I didn’t really have enough time to discover the hidden walks etc but I will do when I go there this time because that’s just my sort of thing. On the last day there I did sit under a tree in the shade under the Cathedral and thought back over my time in Salisbury and I thought it was absolutely beautiful.”

Anything that you didn’t get round to doing when you were here last time that you’ll be making a beeline for?

“I want to walk to Old Sarum, someone told me to do that, and I’m definitely going to get out, if I have a chance this time, to Avebury and Stonehenge. And I’ll find my secret café again with the cats in. I stayed out in Odstock as I mentioned but I won’t have the car this time so I’ll be living in town. I can do early morning walks across the Cathedral close, I’ll walk along the river and I’m looking forward to sitting in the Haunch with the rest of the cast and having a glass of red wine and, this time, I’m going to go up the spire. I really can’t wait to do that. There’s an awful lot more to discover about Salisbury and I’m delighted to be given a second go at it.”

Caroline Harker appears in Relatively Speaking in the Main House at Salisbury Playhouse from 4 – 28 September. For more information, visit https://www.wiltshirecreative.co.uk/whats-on/main-house/relatively-speaking/


Ross Wakelam – Insatiable Mind review

We asked work experience students to respond to exhibitions at Salisbury Arts Centre as part of their placement with us.

Here is a review of our Insatiable Mind exhibition by Ross of Noadswood School.

An exhibition named ‘INSATIABLE MIND’ lasting from the 24th May to the 13th July is calling Salisbury its home. INSATIABLE MIND is a collaboration between personal interpretation and the modern world, produced by Wiltshire Creative at Salisbury Arts Centre.

Walking through the classic wooden doors of the building doesn’t prepare you for the sensory adventure which is about to be experienced, exhibits including sound and moving image evoke feelings of both unsteadiness yet tell stories of political unrest and unique views regarding diseases which the artists themselves experience.

Against the empty white walls stand mixed medium works such as those of Dr Katayoun Dowlatshahi, which pair up both blueprints of a rocket testing site on the Isle of Wight printed on glass, with real life images from High Down Rocket Test Facility, where testing took place. The photos are complete with graffiti that reads, “WElCOME tO thE UNDERWolD”, contradicting the idea of the insignificance of the building in modern day.

Paintings by the artist Sophie Sample are completely interpretational, out of the five works displayed in the exhibition of hers, only one stands out against the others. The piece titled ‘Salisbury’ features a red painted canvas with a square window showing people wearing forensic suits, assumedly referring to the Novichok incident that affected the city in 2018. This work in particular stands out as her other works are on muted, calm coloured backgrounds. Another of her works titled ‘Palestine / Israel’, shows a window in which an idyllic city can be viewed, yet a sign labelled ‘Exit’ points away from this view.

The converted church venue of this exhibition couldn’t be any less suited for a technologically orientated interpretation such as the one provided by artist Eunmi Mimi Kim, where she finds herself both inside and underneath a glass dome, being on show herself accompanied by the ominous soundtrack she chose to accompany. Another example of the modern interpretation taken by these artists is by Susan Eyre, who has three works on display in this exhibition, centred and suspended is her piece titled ‘Pentacoronae’, which emotes a calm yet distant feeling for the spectator.

The experience felt after visiting this exhibition is difficult to rival and is definitely worth a visit for anyone who appreciates an alternative spin on art, and work down to interpretation, before its closure in mid-July.

Frankie Holmes – Insatiable Mind review

We asked work experience students to respond to exhibitions at Salisbury Arts Centre as part of their placement with us.

Here is a review of our Insatiable Mind exhibition (24 May – 13 July 2019) by Frankie of Leehurst Swan School.

My first impression of the exhibition appropriately named “Insatiable Mind”, was the sheer diversity of Artists and mediums of art on display. When I think of the word Insatiable I think of hunger, longing and desire to know more.  The main thing that struck me about the art as a whole is that they all have one thing in common, the basis of their art seems to be the desire to know more. Which to me is the main function of the human brain. It is of no surprise that the exhibition is titled “Insatiable Mind”.

The piece I noticed first was “Orbit” by Dr Katayoun Dowlatshahi. This piece I found immensely interesting. The medium was photography of Sky and Sea that have been merged together by Dowlatshahi. The piece is inspired by West High Down, a former cold war who privately tested rocket engines for the British Space Programme. I love how the artist has merged the sky and sea, because they are opposite environments I feel like the artist has tried to create a new view, a different version of how to see the world.

Unlike Dowlatshahi, Niccolo Masini is a multidisciplinary artist as well as an illustrator and animator. His piece “White Time” happens to be my favourite, its medium is animation, it depicts a black background with a countdown bar at the bottom of the screen, it is closely followed with a white background which depicts a being standing and falling continuingly downwards. The being then jumps off the object it was standing on and falls gradually through the white background until collapsing in a dark blue vortex. This piece makes me think a great deal it makes me wonder whether like the black background and countdown, it’s better to stay standing, and count backwards or to jump off of our perch and fall even if it means collapsing. This fits with Masini’s  interest to move closer and closer through experience to being at one with the world.

I think both art works display space, perhaps not in the literal sense but in Dowlatshahi’s case space is an evident feature in the infinity.

Frankie Holmes

Vincent Brain – Insatiable Mind review

We asked work experience students to respond to exhibitions at Salisbury Arts Centre as part of their placement with us.

Here is a review of our Insatiable Mind exhibition (24 May – 13 July 2019) by Vincent of St Joseph’s School.

The Insatiable Mind Exhibition is an intriguing and engaging work of art which gives a perspective on life from lots of different aspects and points of view.

One example of a work of art within the exhibition that caught my eye was the Collider, by Oksana Chepelyk. It examines the iconic places of the 20th and 21st century political history. I liked how the flashbacks create contrast and juxtaposition in the artwork, which transforms from black and white to bright flashing colours. These remind me of music festivals, where there may be a large stage with a screen at the back, which plays bright shapes and colours to accompany the music and engage an audience. The art is successful in engaging the audience as it illustrates a varied and contemporary view on the world which provides interest and creativity.

In addition, the start of the piece (which is presented as a video on a TV screen) begins with about 10 cameras put together in different positions to create a scene where vehicles and people vanish as they move out of one frame into the next which is overlapped. The effect seen here is similar to when you look into a kaleidoscope toy with the squares and focus changing in each rotation and reflection of the glass.

Another example of a work that caught my eye was the “Me Time” by Eunmi Mimi Kim, a Korean Artist. It creates different impressions of the world and also links to ideas of other worlds, which is evident when the backgrounds and setting change, some looking like other planets such as Mars and again there is an idea of contrast within the piece where the person is located in a setting of a dark or coloured background whilst the are wearing white. This idea could suggest the difference or insignificance of humans when compared to the world, as there are places which have not yet been discovered and some beyond the reach of mankind. This piece of art caught my attention as it presents different textures in a high quality ranging from a bone dry ground to a bowl of water with a human in it.

On the whole the exhibition is themed around a mixture of space, the known and unknown, other worlds and perspective.

It is important to display art of this type as it broadens people’s horizons and shows people what other people imagine and think, whilst helping people get a better understanding and appreciation of their surroundings.

For Salisbury to display works of art from international artists is important and benefits Salisbury as a city as it shows the diversity and creativity of spaces like the Arts Centre.

Vincent Brain

Matthew Davies – STEAM review

We asked work experience students to respond to exhibitions at Salisbury Arts Centre as part of their placement with us.

Here is a review of our STEAM exhibition, which ran from 24 May to 9 June 2019 as part of Salisbury International Arts Festival, by Matthew of St Joseph’s School.

What would happen if I put Skittles in water?

Skittles 1 Skittles 2.jpg

The name who made this experiment: Charlie

Hi my name is Matthew and I’m just writing about how amazing this experiment actually is)

I think Charlie did amazing job using the idea of the skittle rally game and it was really good idea to use in the art centre because the people that can read or see the experiment so they can have an idea what Charlie is writing about. It was really good to put water on the Skittles because it gives a colourful creative work and it blend it in as a rainbow colours. Having a cold water will help the experiment go smoothly in the way that Charlie thinks and it works really well I cannot know how he mixes colours together.

My best image I like off the experiment is the one that colours going inwards more to fill the space and it gives us the ones that are brighter and shiner I don’t know that skittles were bright and or maybe that Charlie was think if you eat and play you can get a strike. Having a strike is Charlie dream.

  Step by step of how Charlie does is

Step 1) I think Charlie open up a bag of skittles

Step 2) Put the Skittles in a circle in the order of colours in a rainbow (red, orange, yellow, green, purple) on a white plate.

Step 3) a small amount of hot water on the middle of the plate—just enough so that the water touches the candies. (Get an adult to help to make sure you don’t hurt yourself).

Step 4)    Watch what happens! Use a stopwatch or timer to see how long it takes for the colours to stop flowing.

Overall task just gives it ago do not panic have fun this colours)!

James Morrison – Where the Land Ends review

We asked work experience students to respond to exhibitions at Salisbury Arts Centre as part of their placement with us.

Here is a review of Where The Land Ends (8 April – 17 May 2019) by James of Exeter House Vocational Centre

New Year’s Day by Debra Sweeney

Download an original copy of James Morrison’s Where the Land Ends Review

I can see blue, grey, YELLOW and green colours.


The textures in the painting are smooth and rough, soft and shiny.

The weather looks cold, wet and dull, but also calm.

New Year's Day by Debra Sweeney