Clearing Stories Current students share their Clearing journey
Production arts student Chantel relaxing in Clifton village

Clearing Stories

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Chantel's Clearing Story

Chantel is a first-year student on the School’s Production Arts course. She applied to BOVTS through Clearing last August, having decided to pursue a change in career.

Production arts student Chantel with friends at the harbourside

What were the circumstances that led you to apply to BOVTS through Clearing?

I had previously studied a degree in an entirely different field (Criminology) a decade ago and worked in related jobs throughout my twenties. A period of ill health in 2016 led me to reassess my career and life goals. I had always been interested in theatre but felt my background and lack of formal training in performing arts meant that I’d missed my chance.

I actually commented on one of the School’s Clearing adverts on social media – something whimsical, more out loud to myself than anything else, along the lines of “I wish I could do this, but I’ve already got a degree”! The School  replied to my comment encouraging me to check out the FdA Production Arts course. I was intrigued!

How did you find the process of applying?

It was very straightforward. After calling the School to follow up on the messages, I was asked to send a CV (as I hadn’t yet made a UCAS application). That afternoon, I was called by the head of the course to say I had some great life experience and that the School would like me to come in the next morning – as I was already based in Bristol – for an interview.

I was due to leave for a festival that afternoon, so arrived in a wacky flowery jacket and a space buns hairstyle – so it was unlike any other (formal) interview I had done before! The staff were extremely friendly when I arrived, and I immediately felt at ease – I had a tour of the School, followed by an interview with one of the Stage Management Tutors and the Principal. Three hours later, I was emailed to say I had been awarded a place!

Do you have any advice for anyone who may be thinking about applying to Production Arts through Clearing?

Be proud of any skills you’ve acquired and think about ones you’re keen to develop. I only had a few hours to prepare, so I quickly collated photos into a phone album of some sewing projects I had done and recalled the sound and lighting effects of a recent play I had seen. Definitely give it a go – you’re never too old to develop a life passion!


If you’re considering retraining and applying for FdA Production Arts, then you may be eligible for scholarship support in the form of a partial tuition fee waiver. As part of our commitment to widening access, four waivers of up to £5000 are available for 2019. Please contact us for further guidance.

I’m constantly delighted by the talent, commitment and drive of our students. Their curiosity and joy in the work gives us all energy and keeps me on my toes! My goal is to ensure that their voices serve their acting - both in theatre and recorded media. They need to be able to project, learn accents, respond to a wide variety of texts and have a voice that is healthy and be able to sustain long tours and tough filming schedules. This involves them working extremely hard – but having fun as well. When the new students see the final year students in production for the first time I know they’ll come into class the next day fully understanding the high standard they’re working to achieve. Carol Fairlamb, Head of Voice