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AOS and RGSW Collaboration

AOS alumna and Artistic Director guiding RGS alumna in new career
Estelle (2018) is working at DSL with Emma (1987)
Estelle (2018) is working at DSL with Emma (1987)

An account of a recent RGS leaver who sought career advice from an AOS alumna which led to voluntary work experience and then evolved into paid employment.  Estelle Welch explains how it came about.

'I joined RGS for my Sixth Form in 2016 having previously attended Dodderhill School for eight very happy years. Looking back at my time at RGS I am astounded by the number of opportunities the students are given.
At the time we didn’t fully acknowledge the benefit of alumni guest speakers and simply found their stories of past days at the school interesting and funny, unaware of the potential benefit of it to our future careers.  I can now appreciate the care and dedication put in by RGS staff to finding different alumni to speak, all with interesting and varying careers which appeal to different students in turn. It was at one of these events - Senior Prizegiving in September 2018 - where I met Alice Ottley School alumna, Emma Lucia Hands, Artistic Director of Drama Studio London (DSL). I was encouraged to approach Emma and speak with her at the evening drinks reception where she took a real interest in my future plans. Little did I know we would be working together in less than a year.
During her speech, Emma spoke of her career in the theatre industry which resonated with me. Although not being a natural actor, during my final year I had been given the joint responsibility of being stage manager for the senior production of West Side Story, which opened my eyes to opportunities within the theatre other than acting.
The always-enthusiastic Art and Textiles departments also inspired me on a daily basis, in spite of the stress of A Levels, developing my passion for the Arts and helping me think more critically. It was these teachers, along with the Sixth Form team, who guided me onto the path I have chosen to follow, ensuring I got to study Arts Management at Goldsmiths University of London.
My first year at Goldsmiths really has lived up to my dream. The University, and being in London, have offered me so many opportunities to learn about my future industry, meet interesting people and see fascinating places. With a variety of talks by industry professionals such as the chief sound engineer of The Prodigy and directors of world class arts companies, it really is worth getting up for a 9am lecture! In addition, I have made friends with people from across the world, learned to live on my own and explored an incredible city.
It is true that none of this would have been easy without the skills that RGS has given me. An aspect of the Sixth Form which appealed to me was the independence it gives you. This has continued to benefit me a year on, giving me the confidence I need to learn in a more professional environment along with a work ethic and disciplined approach which are imperative to success.
It is these skills which enabled me to make contact with Emma in search for some work experience. Enthusiastic to help me, she responded to my email, inviting me to come and speak to her and to attend a student showcase, in order to get a taste of what takes place at Drama Studio London (DSL).
All the staff at DSL have supported me hugely and have ensured I have got the best out of my time with them. I have been trusted with a range of responsibilities which have taught me so much. In particular, Emma has gone out of her way to make sure I felt supported and was learning as much as I possibly could during my time there. She has also given me opportunities outside of DSL, inviting me to theatre productions and to the discussion group she runs with the prominent theatre critic Michael Billington.
My time with Emma and at DSL has benefited my studies more than I can say, and I was delighted when I was invited to join the staff as a part-time member of the team that fits around my academic studies. From September 2019 I will be the Assistant Scheduler and Office Assistant and I’m very excited to be working with Emma again!'

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