“I absolutely loved my time at Edge Hill and the course was exactly what I was looking for.”
Creating art with a purpose is what has driven Samantha Ackerley to forge a career in costume design. She chose a Design for Performance degree, graduating in 2013, and has not looked back.
She loved studying textiles at A-level and a course in art and design at college, but didn’t know where this specialism could take her – until she discovered the degree at Edge Hill University.
“I established that what I wanted to do was create art in whatever form it takes,” says Samantha, “but I wanted it to have a purpose and be used for something in an interesting way instead of just being freestanding. That’s when I found the Design for Performance degree and realised that I could be creating art and costumes or props which could be used as part of a performance. When I put this to my tutor at my university interview she essentially said ‘this is the course for you’!
“At the time, I think there were only three other universities in the UK offering this degree. I absolutely loved my time at Edge Hill and the course was exactly what I was looking for.”
Samantha says it was the practical opportunities and the campus environment which really made her time at university special.
“My favourite part was doing the big shows that were held in the Rose Theatre,” she adds. “I had the opportunity to design set, costume and props for a professional production, working alongside the drama students. This is where I felt I was happiest where my career is concerned. There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing your work in whatever form it takes being used in a performance and contributing to the overall result of the show. All the elements – acting, music, drama, lighting, sound and the design – all coming together to create a spectacle.
“I would definitely recommend Edge Hill as I enjoyed my course and my time there. All the staff I came across were friendly and helpful and the campus is stunning.”
Since graduation, Samantha has had a number of roles – joining forces with fellow Edge Hill graduate Ross Green and his Eye Level Theatre company on costume design, working with the team at Wigan Little Theatre, getting involved with the tour of the acclaimed Royal de Luxe Giants in Liverpool, and working with an amateur dramatics company doing all the design work for their shows. She’s also been working as a seamstress to improve her costume skills.
“As for my future, I’m hoping to continue to do my design work for shows and hopefully move on to designing for bigger productions, but at present, I’m happy to work for small productions building up my portfolio.”