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Case Study

Holly-Rose Kneller

Sunderland, UK

BA (Hons) Performing Arts


Since graduating, BA (Hons) Performing Arts student Holly-Rose Kneller is writing, performing and touring across the country. She is hoping to appear at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and credits the care given by academic staff and the exciting opportunities available here in Sunderland for the best years of her life.

I chose to study at the University of Sunderland as a result of an open day I attended. I fell in love with the beautiful city and its location. I met with a member of the Drama department and found her friendly, welcoming and informative and she made me feel that Sunderland was the place for me.

The care given by the academic staff has been the greatest aspect of my course. You know no matter what, they want the best for you and you can always turn to them in a time of need even if it's not strictly course related, they really care about your well-being. I also love the fact that you can almost carve your own way through the course, selecting modules that you feel personally will progress you in your chosen career; this gives you the flexibility to produce your own creative identity.

Sunderland is a fantastic city with a lot to offer. It has a beautiful culture and especially in performing arts, there is a lot going on. The University is supportive and friendly, and like the city, offers so many exciting opportunities not only in your area of study but with societies, connections with local businesses and industry workers, facilities like the newly refurbished gym and a climbing wall.

I’d recommend you take the opportunities available to help further your career including career advice and support. There are support staff to help with creating CVs and excelling in interviews. I wouldn't have wished my university experience be anywhere but Sunderland, they were truly the best years of my life.

I'd recommend prospective students to take every opportunity that you can! Use the resources given to you by the University. As a graduate, my best advice would be don't come to uni just for the degree and certificate at the end. Come to university to leave as a stronger, more educated, and employable person. Anyone on the course can turn up to lectures, do the work set and leave with a degree of some level; it is how you use your experience at university that will set you above the rest when you enter the industry.

Since I left university I have worked as an actor but I am also Artistic Director of Atlas Theatre Company that runs at the University so I still get to work with students and that is something I love. I have written a play ‘Small Talk’ that I directed along with Abigail James which has toured professionally including performances in London. I am currently working on a two-handed play that I will also perform in, that will tour next year. My aims are to continue making connections and producing work here in the North-East and hopefully take some work up to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in the next few years, funding permitted.

My experience has been a rollercoaster of joy, jitters and jubilation; it has carved me into the person I am today and I will be forever grateful for the experience I was able to have here at the University of Sunderland."

Published 11 December 2017

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