Daniel Hippolyte Carmichael from Skelmersdale, graduated in 2012 with a BA Hons in Drama. Having worked as a comedian, writer and actor for the last decade, he has now been chosen to be the resident actor for CBBC’s Dengineers.
Daniel said: “Last year I was invited to take part in a Zoom audition with the BBC for CBBC’s Dengineers, a show where the hosts seek the help of experts to design dream dens for children. I got the part, I was made up, it’s a brilliant show and I love the ethos behind it.”
Although not originally planning to attend university or follow a career in drama, Daniel’s mum spotted an opportunity at Edge Hill. Daniel said: “I thought, why not try drama, I might be good at it. So I applied and had an audition for the Fastrack course which can allow you to go straight onto studying for a degree without any prior experience or qualifications, providing you pass the course. I hadn’t considered going to university at all, so this was a massive opportunity for me.”
So how did he find the Drama course? “At first I thought it was all a bit weird, but in time I realised how amazing it was, and I had found the meaning of these somewhat bizarre classes which freed me. I was good at performing, liked learning new acting styles and understanding the foundations of what acting and performing really is.”
“I loved University life and really made the most of my time at Edge Hill. I played for the basketball team and especially enjoyed the social aspect, meeting people from all over this country and others.”
It was during the basketball away games that Daniel learned he was a natural comedian. Keeping his teammates entertained with funny stories and anecdotes he realised he was quite the comedic storyteller and was convinced by a friend to try an open mic night at the Green Room, a bar in Ormskirk. Hearing roars of laughter whilst up on stage gave Daniel the confidence he needed to pursue stand-up, performing around the country and winning competitions along the way.
He continues: “Whilst working in a call centre where I was showing signs of depression, my now wife Emma and I, who is trained as a dramatherapist, decided to join forces and create a company called Blank Space Theatre. With my performing and comedy experience combined with Emma’s dramatherapy background, we started inclusive drama-based workshops one day a week in Wigan. As well as workshops we held playwriting, quizzes and karaoke sessions, which were all inclusive. It was brilliant, I was so much happier in my work, and it showed as we were soon putting on workshops five days a week.”
Following the continued success of Blank Space, Daniel established and co-founded Hippolong Productions – a culturally and regionally diverse production company focusing on under-represented groups and films in under-represented areas. The company has recently been secured as a BBC-registered supplier working on sitcoms, comedy shorts and documentary creation.
Daniel’s advice for current students is: “Don’t wait until you finish your degree to start scripting your own comedy and drama shorts, creating show reels and contacting the media courses for collaborations. Build those relationships and add experience to your CV now. Being able to highlight your strengths will help you with castings and give you a head start.”