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Walking across the stage in her cap and gown at Stockton Globe felt pretty special for Brooke.

Supported by her young family in the audience, it marked the culmination of what has been a hectic year.

Working as an actress and studying performing arts at Stockton Riverside College with twin toddlers at home, has certainly kept her on her toes.

Add to that a new arrival to the family last month and you have a good idea why, for Brooke, graduation felt like an extra special achievement.

“It has been a lot,” she said with a laugh. “But it’s also been great to take that time to study and enhance my skills.”

With several years of experience working as a professional actress, Brooke has previously made appearances in Sky Atlantic’s This England, landed a role on the West End in Billy Elliot, travelled the world as a performer on board cruise ships and performed in several UK tours.

So, for her, getting the chance to take the time to complete her studies with the BA Hons Performing Arts top-up year at Stockton Riverside College, in partnership with Teesside University, felt like a little luxury.

The 28-year-old was one of 78 Stockton Riverside College students to graduate at Stockton Globe this week with adult learners picking up a range of higher education certificates, foundation and full honours degrees.

Having previously studied her foundation degree at Newcastle College with further training at Italia Conti, London, Brooke, who now lives in South Shields, missed the chance to join in with graduation celebrations first time round due to being on a UK tour of Mad On Her, the 80’s jukebox musical.

“That meant I didn’t get to wear the gown,” she said, a fact that made putting on the black cap this week, as she graduated with honours from Stockton Riverside College, all the more symbolic.

Finally getting her fairytale moment, Brooke said: “People thought I was mad studying with one-year-old twins at home and being pregnant at the same time.”

Now the boys are two and with a newborn at home the next part feels like the perfect family-friendly role, as Brooke will appear as Fairy Bowbells in Dick Whittington at the Phoenix Theatre, Blyth, this Christmas.

She said: “When the audition came in it just sounded ideal, especially being so close to home.”  What’s more, it means the boys might event get the chance to see mum on stage for the first time.

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