James Scannell

I’ve been very fortunate to work in the arts in various capacities; actor, director, workshop leader, role-player, drama tutor, lecturer, and more recently as a creative practitioner with the Arts Council of Wales.

After graduating I successfully auditioned for an all-male Shakespeare company and I toured the UK for two successive summers. It was a brilliant experience! Working with other professional actors and learning from them was great as a young actor. Some of the actors had 20+ years of experience - seeing how they worked and their individual processes was extremely insightful. It was a joyful way to start my career.

Another highlight of my career since graduating was being nominated for Best Male Performance at the Wales Theatre Awards 2018. It proved that hard work and dedication will always see you rewarded in the end.

Becoming a freelance member of staff for the Performing Arts department at UWTSD has been a real highlight, and there is something very special about working there and being back where it all started for me. I remember how special my experience as a student was, and I would like to think that I motivate the current students as much as my lecturers motivated and inspired me.

Why did you choose UWTSD?

During my audition and interview I really got a sense that everyone was genuinely interested in me – what I had done, what I enjoyed, who I was. We spoke about theatre, the arts, sport, Swansea, and the National Youth Theatre of Wales for almost an hour. I felt happy and enjoyed every minute of it.

I knew that I wanted to study there, and the rest, as they say, is history.

The course itself was superb, particularly my lecturers and the freelance professionals that I had the pleasure to work with. The advice, support and direction that I received was second to none and has stood me in good stead.

As corny as this sounds, it changed my life. I made friends from all over the UK, Europe and North America, many of whom are some of my best and closest friends. I grew as a person, became more independent, and studied a subject that I was passionate about. I loved every minute of it!

I always had a real sense that everyone at UWTSD cared about me and wanted what was best for me. Throughout my studies their support and teaching helped to prepare me for the future, and gave me the skills and confidence to be a creative professional in the ‘real world’.

My third year of studies, in particular, was a highlight as I loved every module of study, every role I portrayed, and every aspect of every production… every moment of student life!

During my studies all the practical work undertaken was underpinned by strong theory. This allowed me to create and hone a skill set that was well informed, balanced and relevant for me as a young creative going into the arts industry.

As well as exceptional UWTSD staff, many freelance professionals were brought in to teach and direct on the BA Theatre Studies course; both they and the UWTSD staff were excellent at giving an insight into the industry and offering advice which has proved invaluable.