Seeing the new starters signing up for the performing arts courses at Stockton Riverside College brings a sense of nostalgia to Ava.

It only feels like five minutes since she was signing up to the college and she immediately recalls the excitement and anticipation.

Visiting the team to share her own experiences so far, she laughs as she realises, she is now among the course’s alumni back to offer tips and advice.

The 19-year-old from Normanby who completed the musical theatre course in 2022, now has one year’s experience at Mountview, one of the UK’s leading drama schools, under her belt and is heading off to Emil Dale Academy.

“It’s great to be able to share my experiences at theatre school with current and new students,” said Ava, who is now embarking on the BA Hons in Musical Theatre. “I remember seeing former students come back and how inspired I was.”

Modest to even begin to consider herself in those terms, she said: “The thought that I could perhaps help or inspire someone else is a nice thought.”

Like many of the college’s performing arts alumni, showing her support for those just starting out at the college is something Ava is keen to do.

“I knew about Stockton Riverside College from being a child and performing in one of the shows, Annie,” she said.  That, along with going to regular dance classes since she was three, ignited in Ava a passion to be a triple threat actress on the stage.

For her, college life more than lived up to expectations, as she got to take leading roles in the likes of Legally Blonde and Sweet Charity.

“It is such a unique opportunity that they provide here,” she said. “You can be turning a show around in just a few weeks and then putting on a run of back-to-back shows, just as you would in industry.”

While it’s intense, she said at those times there’s nothing quite like it. “It’s so much fun.”

So, what does the future hold for Ava. “I want to perform in musicals and the big goal would be to get a leading role in the West End,” she said.

Good luck to Ava! We can’t wait to see what the future holds.

Visit www.stockton.ac.uk/performing-arts for more details about the performing arts courses at Stockton Riverside College.

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