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Professional actor, Outreach officer and student

Alice Vellender joined the University of Gloucestershire as a mature student at 21 and studied Performing Arts BA (Hons), graduating in 2015.

“Since graduation, I have been working as a professional actor, primarily in the South West and West Midlands. I have worked extensively for a number of youth theatres and have been working with Vamos Theatre Company in Worcester for a number of years. I joined the University of Gloucestershire’s outreach team as the Student Recruitment and Outreach Officer for the School of Arts and Humanities courses, 4 years ago. As part of my role, I was offered the opportunity to start a master’s course. I have a strong interest in lecturing in the future and therefore, decided that the Masters in Arts (by research) would be the best course to help me to follow this pathway.

I choose to use Vamos Theatre’s work (Finding Joy, Sharing Joy and Listening with your eyes) designed for people living with dementia, their families and carers as my case studies within my thesis. I had been part of the initial touring production to care homes when I was in Vamos Youth Theatre and the experience was life-changing for me. Witnessing first-hand the residents transformative behavior as a result of engaging with the performing arts. This inspired me to explore how engaging in the performing arts can benefit people living with dementia and those around them. I identified an opportunity to explore the Arts and health further, particularly with the NHS being under such strain and the possibility of the growth of the Arts for prescription service. The pandemic arguably, highlighted the need for the Arts to diversify to remain relevant.

I would like to use my MA (Research) to lecture in Performing Arts and I am exploring the possibility of publishing my work and taking part in a postgraduate teaching qualification. In the short term, I have just been cast in a touring production of Dracula with Downpour Theatre Company and so will be touring the south west through the autumn whilst awaiting my results.”