Rachel Walker

FdA Theatre and Performance

Progression Pathway: BTEC Performing Arts, FdA Theatre and Performance

"I would recommend the FdA Theatre and Performance to anyone. I am proof that you are never too old to learn and that a career change is always possible, regardless of your previous experiences. I have learnt a huge amount during my time at University Centre St Helens and have been given some great opportunities, for which I am eternally grateful. Opportunities I previously only dreamed of have transformed into reality, setting me up for a fantastic career."


Theatre and performance student, Racheal Walker joined University Centre St Helens seeking a career change from her previous job in a call centre, where she had previously worked for almost 7 years.

Wanting more out of life, local student Racheal had hopes of a career in acting and enrolled onto the Performing Arts BTEC at St Helens College, where after just 12 months, she was able to apply for the Theatre and Performance foundation degree with University Centre St Helens. Successful in her application, excited by the course content and the ability to obtain a first class education right on her doorstep, Racheal decided enrol onto the foundation degree in Theatre and Performance.

Before starting the degree, Racheal was fresh to the world of theatre but now in the final year of her two-year degree course, she has managed to build an impressive array of industry techniques, skills and knowledge of practitioners, which has provided her with access to an array of new opportunities.

Keen to explore all possibilities, Racheal undertook a voluntary placement opportunity at the local Heart of Glass Gallery, an agency for collaborative and social arts practice in St Helens. Whilst her to paid work opportunities on some of the nation’s most loves TV programmes - Coronation Street and Hollyoaks.

Speaking to Racheal about her experience to date, she commented: “Without University Centre St Helens, I wouldn’t have had access to half of the opportunities in the world of theatre and performance that I have since secured. The University Centre, the foundation degree, the lecturing team and their industry connections have opened up so many doors for me. My volunteering, at the Heart of Glass demonstrates that industry related contacts are everywhere and I was so fortunate to be put in contact with someone at Coronation Street, which is where the career I spent dreaming about in a call centre began.”

With a natural passion for acting, Racheal is also keen to develop her technical skills. The two-year foundation degree has provided ample opportunities for Racheal to explore a range of modules, which go beyond the performance elements of theatre, allowing her to discover new interests and new directions for her future career.

Explaining, she commented: “I have really enjoyed the degree and have been surprised that my favourite modules have involved directing and creating my own work, which is eventually what I would like to do as a career. At the moment we are looking at Multi-Disciplinary Performance, which covers media in theatre, editing visuals and sound. Before I began this degree course, I didn’t know much about career opportunities beyond the realms of acting but my eyes have been opened to new possibilities and chances I never thought possible have been created.” Looking to the future, Racheal has her sights set on a BA (Hons) top-up degree at Salford University, that will allow her to focus on her new found enthusiasm for Production. Using the skills, knowledge and experiences she has developed on her foundation degree, Racheal aims to channel her skills to forge a career in television, on the other side of the camera.

To others considering a degree at University Centre St Helens, Racheal remarked: “I would recommend University Centre St Helens to anyone. I am proof that you are never too old to learn and that a career change is always possible, regardless of your previous experiences. I have learnt a huge amount during my time here and been given some great opportunities, that I will always be very thankful for. Opportunities I previously only dreamed of have transformed into reality, setting me up for a fantastic career.”