Towards the end of my GCSEs, I was looking to continue training in drama. As a member of the Jackie Palmer Stage School, I was encouraged to audition for the full-time BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Performing Arts, being run by the new JP Academy. Knowing that I didn’t want to do A-levels, a practical course seemed perfect for my personal and professional development. JP Academy offers unique performance opportunities, and training from industry professionals.

My time at JP was an unforgettable experience. The tutors are dedicated to seeing students do their best in all disciplines: Drama, Singing, and Dance. Choosing to accept their individual guidance was the best choice, regardless of the discipline I decided to pursue in the end. This has let me become a well-rounded performer. Thanks to the guidance from the tutors, I discovered further training in singing at a Higher Education Institution, which will hopefully give me a career with longevity.

I am now studying at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama on their four year BMus Degree in Vocal and Opera Studies. What helped prepare me the most was JP’s constant stress on performance presentation and precision: we always had to maintain a professional attitude towards rehearsals and performance. This stands me ahead of my colleagues now, who have come out of doing A-level examinations and don’t quite have the performance experience that JP Academy offered me.

Without the training from JP Academy, I wouldn’t be where I am now.

Jon Bowen Rees

2015 JP Academy Graduate

I joined JP Academy after hearing about the course from Lorna Blacker, the Course Leader at that time. I had always looked at making a career in dance, so this was the perfect opportunity to put me on the right path, working towards my goals. I absolutely loved my two years at JP, being taught by an amazing calibre of talented teachers and being pushed to my limits and beyond on a daily basis. I was able to study new dance styles in addition to perfecting styles I was more comfortable in. I also got the opportunity to take acting and singing classes; these were so valuable in developing me, not only as a performer, but as a person as well! I have gone on to train as a dance teacher. My time at JP really helped me grow as a dancer and I can now pass on these skills when I teach. I now approach all tasks in a more professional manner and my exponential growth in confidence has really helped create a drive to be inquisitive and always strive for the best.

Georgia Ellis

2015 JP Academy Graduate

I joined JP Academy in September 2013. Prior to this I studied my AS Levels in Northamptonshire at Sponne School, Towcester and had danced from a young age at a local stage school. My plan was to pass my A Levels and then audition/apply for dance colleges and universities, but after hearing about the new course starting at JP Academy, I immediately had to audition!

The two years flew by in what feels like seconds! I thoroughly enjoyed my training at JP. I cannot thank the teachers enough for, not only their hard work, but the time that they all, individually, invested. For me, the commute was quite long every day, but it was 100% the right place for me to be. At JP, we all had so many opportunities during the two year course: from putting on our own Cabaret production to singing at the Ideal Home Show; getting out and doing things is the experience needed to help nurture a performer! The teachers were all absolutely outstanding and so inspirational. I went to JP as a sponge – to absorb and take on board EVERYTHING!

I joined JP Academy thinking I just wanted to focus on my dancing, but after the two years I realised how versatile a performer I can be. JP Academy really nurtured me into the person I am today (sounds cliché, but very true)! Before JP, I was unaware of how the audition process worked for colleges and universities. From knowing what to wear, to having to tape your sheet music together… It’s the smallest things that make such an impression during an audition. I am proud to say I worked very hard at JP Academy and secured myself a place at Masters in Rayleigh, Essex, which is where I am training now.

My journey at JP Academy was amazing and the things I have learnt and the memories I have made, I will keep with me forever. ‘Never forget those you meet on your way up because they are the ones who helped get you there.’

Grace Taylor

2015 JP Academy Graduate

I joined JP Academy after finishing my GCSEs. Although I was initially enrolling into sixth form, I was drawn to the full-time course JP Academy had to offer. Having been a part of the Jackie Palmer Stage School since the age of three and interested in Performing Arts, it only felt natural to go into full time training. The fact I was already familiar with the environment and some of the faculty, I knew it would be a promising course that would further my knowledge and provide me with valuable experience. Furthermore, I had friends already on the course that spoke highly of the training and the opportunities that the college had to offer and they were very encouraging towards my decision.

In class, we were taught theatre etiquette and how to cope with being in a professional environment, which has definitely benefited me towards my approach in my further training. However, my fondest memories are full of fun and unforgettable moments. Over my two years at JP, I grew in all areas, which include singing, acting and dancing and this is down to the dedication and the support of the teachers. There were constant improvements being made to try to provide the best training that catered to us as a college cohort and individually met our needs. We were lucky enough to have many opportunities to perform on stage, showcasing each discipline, which widened my experience and has made me more aware as a performer.

I am currently studying at Masters Performing Arts College on a three year course. The course focuses on singing, acting and dancing and, therefore, everything I learned at JP has been relevant to my current training. JP prepared me for Masters by giving us plenty of audition scenario situations and performance opportunities, helping me grow in confidence and contributing towards my development in performance. Everything I learnt in two years at JP I still carry with me today and apply into my classes at Masters. As well as this, unlike others I train alongside, I have had previous opportunity to experience the intenseness of full-time training in Performing Arts which mentally prepared me what to expect.

Courtnie Fenn

2016 JP Academy Graduate

I joined JP because, just from the look of the building, I knew it would be a friendly, uplifting and challenging new step for me. I heard about JP through ‘The Stage’ magazine that I used to subscribe to. As soon as I had finished my GCSEs (Drama being one of them) I knew this is what I wanted to pursue a career in. JP drew me in even more, knowing that I would be able to train in all three disciplines. Singing, Acting and Dancing. Especially as, nowadays, it is so important to be able to have at least basic skills in all three.

I absolutely loved my time at JP. I couldn’t have been blessed with a better school to train in. I felt every single day I would learn something new and valuable to my training. I really blossomed and found myself as a person and as an actor at JP. As well as acting, I found my singing voice that now is something really special to me, and I also conquered my massive fear of dancing, which I now love to do. Every single thing I learnt has completely influenced my choices and without JP I would not be where I am today.

I now study a BA Hons in Acting at Bath Spa University. I absolutely love it; this was definitely the right choice and JP definitely supported me and prepared me for this. A lot of people think that going to university for such a practical based course is a big mistake, but I honestly would prove anyone who thinks that wrong. At Bath Spa we are constantly being prepared to take that next step into the industry alone. In every single lesson we are being taught to become an actor-creator as well as an actor-interpreter. Bath Spa has taught me to love the art and to not be afraid of it. I have learnt how to fight for what I love and what I am passionate about. One important lesson learnt so far, is that you should love to fail. To fail is to learn. Embrace failure and that is when you will learn to succeed.

The way JP prepared me was by giving me my confidence back. Without that I would never be where I am now. All of the teachers individually helped me find songs and monologues that would suit me, but which would also take me out of my comfort zone. Being able to go to auditions with pieces I could be so proud of gave me that motivational boost I have always needed. I could never thank the teachers enough for all the guidance and experience that they have passed down to me. I will forever take with me and cherish everything I learnt at JP.

Shannon Pepper

2016 JP Academy Graduate

Student Progression Routes Include:

Bird College

Performers College

Masters Performing Arts College

Central School of Speech and Drama

Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts

Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama


Millennium Performing Arts

The Bridge Theatre Training Company



Bath Spa University

Oxford School of Drama

Urdang Academy

London Studio Centre

De Montfort University

Pinewood Studios Internship

University of Chichester

The Academy of Contemporary Music

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