Former Shrewsbury College student makes history

A former Shrewsbury College student, Will Hopkins, 21, from Montgomeryshire, has made a bit of history this month by winning the first ever Backstage Academy Scholarship in Partnership with The Stage.

By winning this scholarship, Will, who previously studied Performing Arts at the College from 2010-2013, will now join the 16 month intensive, live events production foundation degree – worth nearly £12,000.

Backstage Academy, in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, is situated inside the LS-Live production rehearsal arena and staging company where the tours of Jay Z, the Arctic Monkeys and Katy Perry have taken place. As part of the course Will, will learn to handle staging, lighting and sound for pop concerts, sporting events, cruise ships and theatre.

Will got his first taste of stage production at Shrewsbury College, where he achieved a Distinction, and it was there where he decided that it could be the right career for him. He said: “I wanted to go in to acting originally, when I was doing my one year BTEC, before going on to do my two year Diploma. But then we staged a performance of Alice in Wonderland at the College another student and myself were in charge of the lighting. It was so much fun having a role in making the performance, helping the creative team and performers reach their goal.

“When I heard I got a place and won a scholarship (at Backstage Academy) I was speechless. It means so much, I’m going to be able to pursue a career I could only have previously dreamed of.”

Gina Evans, Performing Arts teacher at Shrewsbury College said, “Will was and still is an exceptional student, we are proud of his achievements, both with us here at the College and since leaving last year. His hard work and dedication to the industry are a credit to him.

“We are proud of the relationship we continue to have with the students when they leave the College, we have an extensive alumni which we are continuing to build. We keep in regular contact with a lot of our past students through social media, email and we regularly see former students popping in to the college and getting involved with lessons.”

She added: “I think I can speak for the whole department when I wish Will every luck for what we are sure will be an exciting and successful future.”

The live events production degree equips students with the creative and technical skills needed to succeed in the backstage sector – the emphasis is very much on practical learning.

Foundation Degree course leader, Johnny Goodwin, said he was particularly heartened by Will’s enthusiasm and passion for the live events sector. “His commitment to self-improvement, along with the fact that he could not have pursued further education without this scholarship, made him the perfect candidate,” he said.

For more information about Performing Arts courses at Shrewsbury College, please click here or call 01743 342 411.

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