Beth Mountain

FdA Theatre and Performance

Progression Pathway: Cardinal Newman (Warrington), level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma Performing Arts, FdA Theatre and Performance

"I’ve learnt so much during my time on the degree, not just academically but personally. I’ve built my confidence immensely, discovering how to be a leader, rather than a follower; a huge personal achievement. I would definitely recommend this degree course, there is ongoing support right throughout your time here, it really is second to none."

Theatre and Performance student, Bethany Mountain, looks to the future as she progresses her career with University Centre St Helens. The 20-year-old student from Warrington studied her GCSEs at Cardinal Newman High School, before venturing to St Helens College to study on the Performing Arts level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma. Despite living in Warrington, Beth decided to make the journey to St Helens, as she felt the content of the course on offer was exactly what she was looking for and more suited to her long-term career goals than that of her local college.

Enjoying her BTEC studies immensely and determined to progress her education, Beth began researching University degree courses that would allow her to take her skills, knowledge and understanding to the next level. Through UCAS, Beth applied for a range of universities, receiving offers from them all, as well as a scholarship offer from a large, well-established university. Despite receiving a range of offers from universities across the UK, Beth decided to turn them all down, including the scholarship opportunity and progress with her studies locally, enrolling on the FdA Theatre and Performance with University Centre St Helens.

Explaining the reasoning behind this decision, Beth commented “A key influence of my decision was knowing how comfortable I was here in St Helens. The two years I spent studying the BTEC at St Helens College allowed me to build my confidence and develop strong bonds with both teaching staff and peers. For me, these are important factors in any decision and when coupled with the familiarity I had of the campus and wider area, I knew University Centre St Helens was somewhere I would thrive.”

Right to be confident in her beliefs, Beth is now in the second year of her degree, and is hoping to continue onto the BA (Hons) Theatre and Performance Top-Up commencing September 2018. Speaking of her time at University Centre St Helens so far she added: “I absolutely love the course, I love how it goes beyond the campus, for example we’ve recently worked on a community project, where we were teaching Year 6 pupils at Eccleston Mere Primary School. We’ve also done a Christmas performance for the school and we will be going back again later this year.”

Working with local primary schools has inspired Beth to produce an individual Easter show, something which she would not have considered prior to the degree.

Beth’s involvement with external projects has allowed her to gain valuable work experience, whilst building industry contacts. University Centre St Helens’ central location means students have immediate access to key players in the industry locally, including St Helens Theatre Royal and the Citadel.

Speaking about her time at University Centre St Helens, Beth said: “I’ve learnt so much during my time on the degree, not just academically but personally. I’ve built my confidence immensely, discovering how to be a leader, rather than a follower; a huge achievement for me.”

Beth believes University Centre St Helens’ smaller class sizes has helped her confidence flourish, making for a more intimate student experience, where students have regular contact with their lecturing team and peers.

The degree has also opened up further opportunities to Beth, including a trip to Paris, where students had the chance to tour with a professional company, helping out as lighting technicians, stage hands and extras. In addition, Beth has performed one of her own written pieces externally, in conjunction with St Helens Libraries service as part of their Cultural Hubs programme and has provided a range of technical support at other performances.

Looking to the future, Beth has aspirations of becoming a teacher within a Further Education setting, focusing on teaching Drama to 16-18 year olds. Using the skills, knowledge and experience she has developed during her time on the foundation degree at University Centre St Helens, she hopes to progress onto a PGCE, in order to make her dream career a reality.