Acting - BA (Hons)

UCAS Code:
Full Time (3 years)
September 2019

This course is now full for 2019/20. Applications will open for the 2020/21 entry through UCAS Conservatoires from 18th July 2019.

If you'd still like to apply for September 2019, take a look at some of our other available courses.

Apply your passion and complete your training at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire – we offer drama school level training to mould you into a versatile actor and help you launch your career. 

Our BA (Hons) Acting is designed to develop you practically, personally and professionally and prepare you for this challenging industry. We have carefully designed a contemporary course that will train you for a creative career in front of a stage, screen or radio audience. You will receive specialist training in voice, movement and singing, graduating with the skill and aptitude to take on the exciting and dynamic world of the dramatic arts.

According to the Guardian University Guide 2020, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire's acting and performance provision is in the UK's top ten drama schools (drama and dance category).

This course equips you with the skills you need to become a professional actor; continually stretching and challenging you to reach new levels of personal achievement and self-discovery. As a vocational actor training course, full commitment and attendance for a minimum of 30 contact hours a week, for a minimum of 30 weeks would be expected. 

Subject to Updates

As part of BCU’s commitment to providing excellent student experience, the content and structure of this course is being refreshed to ensure that it continues to meet the highest educational standards. This page will be updated with the revised course documentation by 30 June 2019.

What's covered in the course?

Complete your training in a supportive environment alongside your dedicated peers. With a proactive attitude you will achieve the high-standard of skill and adaptability that is required of professional actors in the industry today

Your classes will mainly be studio-based sessions, focusing on the practical application of acting, voice, movement and singing. For some modules you will have timetabled rehearsal time, where you will work in groups to produce material.

During the final year of your training you will get the opportunity to make a showreel, perform showcases to industry professionals, and be cast in professional productions staged in external theatres. In the first two years you will apply and develop your skills, getting regular opportunities to perform to your peer group and to invited audiences.

You can find our graduates all over the industry

Graduates of this course have gone on to craft successful and inspiring careers across the entire spectrum of the industry, including actors such as Rob Mallard – best known for his role in Coronation Street for which he won the award for Best Newcomer at the 2017 British Soap Awards, and Helen George, who played Trixie Franklin in Call the Midwife. Airing in early 2017, new Channel 4 comedy from the producers of Father Ted Derry Girls stars 2011 graduate Nicola Coughlan.

Our graduates can also be found on stage in musicals, for example Dominic Hartley Harris has appeared in the West End in Bat out of Hell and Beautiful - The Carole King Musical, and Lewis Howard played the Heart of Joey in War Horse. Our graduates are flexible and entrepreneurial, and in some cases have gone on to start their own companies – Theatre 63, a theatre company founded by our graduates, was nominated for the National Student Drama Festival (NSDF) 2017 Edinburgh Award. We also produce successful writers and directors – playwright Charlene James has won a number of awards, including for her well-received play Cuttin It, and Gemma Colclough directed The Hunting of the Snark at the Vaudeville Theatre in the West End.

Will I be famous?

Who knows! We aim to transform you into a confident performer and practitioner with a diverse skills base who recognises your own talent and creative ability. This course encourages you to create a well-informed working process that is supported by practice, theory and reflection. You will learn to create opportunities for yourself through a forward-thinking attitude, and engage with the course both intellectually and creatively. 

You will engage immediately with full-time training and a high level of contact hours. The course is demanding and energetic, allowing you to explore your full potential in an inspiring yet challenging environment; applying your passion to become the best that you can be.

Why Choose Us?

  • Students are satisfied with this course! We scored 97.1 per cent for overall satisfaction in the National Student Survey 2018.
  • We are ranked highly - The 2020 Guardian University Guide rankings placed us seventh in the Drama & Dance category.
  • Our tutors have vast, and notable experience, both in the UK and internationally. Staff have worked with well-known individuals, projects and companies such as the BBC, the RSC, West End stars, British repertory and festival theatres.
  • We are proud to be a part of Birmingham City University, where, as a student you are not only part of a Conservatoire but also a member of the Federation of Drama Schools.
  • You will be taught by professional staff, with extensive knowledge, expertise and experience within the acting field. Our team is made up of visiting tutors, and in-house lecturers, all of which have and continue to work in industry.
  • Graduates of the BA (Hons) Acting course have successful careers as actors, writer and directors.
  • On TV you will see our graduates appearing in programmes such as Peaky Blinders, Coronation Street, Emmerdale, EastEnders, WPC53, Call the Midwife, Holby City, The Royal, and Shameless, among many more.
  • You can find our versatile graduates performing at prestigious venues such as Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and the National Theatre, and we are always well represented at festivals such as the Edinburgh Fringe.

This course is open to International students

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Discover Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

Visit the School website

Where our students go

Our students have gone on to jobs such as:

  • Actor
  • Director
  • Setting up a theatre company
  • Musical theatre performer
  • Writer

Have you considered BA (Hons) Applied Theatre?

Our Applied Theatre course seeks to prepare the next generation of passionate and skilled theatre-makers that are going to change the world. Our focus is on creating new performances and projects with a purpose.

Learn more 

Entry Requirements

Essential Requirements

Admission is by audition; in addition we require 64 points from A-levels or equivalent.

Individual offers are made regarding grades in order to secure a place on the course.

Normally 32 students are enrolled onto the course each year.

5+ GCSEs or equivalent at grade 4 (C) or above to include English Language.

International Students

Entry requirements here

Application process also involves an audition

Worried? Don't be!

Worried about exams? Don't be.

We've put together a whole host of resources including student tips and expert advice to help you nail your exams. You can even get a free revision guide.

Get exam and revision help

Don’t meet our entry requirements?

You could apply for a foundation course or a course at our International College. These routes have lower entry requirements and act as the bridge to a full degree. To find out more, please select your status:

Home student International student

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BA (Hons) Sep 2019 FT 3 years £9,250 per year Applications Closed

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BA (Hons) Sep 2019 FT 3 years £15,900 per year Applications Closed

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form and equal opportunities PDF form instead. The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.

This course is now full for 2019/20. Applications will open for the 2020/21 entry through UCAS Conservatoires from 18th July 2019.

If you'd still like to apply for September 2019, take a look at some of our other available courses.

Personal statement

UK / EU students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.*

The personal statement gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Course choice

Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?

Career plans

If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.

Work experience

Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.

School or college experience

Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.

Non-accredited skills or achievement

eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.

You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

*Non-EU students are not required to submit a personal statement when applying for this course.

Additional costs

Our courses include activities such as performance, exhibitions, field trips and production of works or artefacts which may require you to purchase specific equipment, instruments, books, materials, hire of venues and accommodation, or other items. Many of these activities are essential and compulsory parts of your learning experience.

The link below gives you an estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on your course. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course.

All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

View additional costs for this course

Additional costs

The additional costs listed at the bottom of the page are to be used for indicative purposes only and are based on the additional costs for the 2018/19 academic year. The additional costs for 2019/20 will be published as soon as possible.

Worried about personal statements?

Worried about personal statements?

If you've got no idea where to start or just want to check you're on the right track, we’ve got expert advice and real examples from our students to help you nail your personal statement. You can even download our ultimate personal statement guide for free.

Get personal statement advice

Loans and Grants

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible undergraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Year one

Your first year of study will focus on the development of skill, and you will be assessed through acting, voice, movement and singing. Within the Acting, Voice, Physical Skills and Singing modules you will learn the basic skills and knowledge expected of a contemporary actor. Your first year is very much a technical year. These seemingly separate skills are in truth all linked together, and ultimately will facilitate a seamless integration into acting.

In the Project module you will work towards a presentation of work to an audience of your tutors and peers. You will also learn to research and explore theatre history and context, developing your critical and analytical skills in the module Acting Theory module, alongside Stanislvaksi system of text analysis.

15 credits

The acting module is designed to help you form the basic knowledge and skills required of an actor. This practice-based module will allow you to explore and develop yourself as a professional actor, with the support and guidance of our expert team of staff.

Acting theory and context
15 credits

The Acting Theory module covers a range of theoretical concepts, including theatre history, critical and analytical skills. In addition to this you will explore the performing using the basic principles of the Stanislavski System.

Physical skills
15 credits

This module is designed to encourage the development of your skills in relation to movement. You will explore the basic foundations and principles of utilising physical skills within performance. You will be encouraged to apply the knowledge you learn within this module to the other technical skills you will develop.

15 credits

Your first year singing module will provide you with the foundations of technical performance and skill that are relative to singing. You will be taught specific techniques, and you will develop an awareness of healthy vocal practice.

15 credits

Within this module you will explore the basic principles and develop an awareness of technical voice practice. You will use your own voice as an instrument, utilising a range of practical, creative and imaginative strategies in relation to vocal development.

30 credits

Within the project module you will apply the rehearsal techniques you have accumulated through the technical, skills-based modules. You will be taught through project work which culminates in internal performances. You will be expected to demonstrate your ability to apply your technical skills to professional practice.

Year two

The delivery of your second year will be split evenly between technical and performance modules. The work you produce within your second year will build upon and develop the skills you have accumulated in your first year of study.

Much like your first year you will be taught through a series of modules. The modules Acting Two, Voice Two, Physical Skills Two and Singing Two will bring together your practical skills. You will creatively explore the skills you have learnt in your first year. Pushing back boundaries and making new discoveries you will begin to see the bigger picture of the acting industry.  You will also continue to develop your abilities to explore, investigate and research through an individual research project.

Your work will be shown to a public audience in the Workshop module. Along with exploring acting for the stage, you will also learn important techniques for radio and screen in the Acting Two module.

In your second year of study your technical skills will be deepened and developed, and the beginnings of integration between them are expected.

30 credits

The second year acting module builds upon the skills you acquired in your first year acting module. You will explore further the technical skill of acting, investigating different styles and forming an in-depth knowledge. You will learn how to further your creative development as an actor with a broad skills base.

45 credits

Within the workshop module you have the chance to showcase your work to a public audience. You will hone your technical skills through rehearsal, and you will prepare for performance. You will develop your competence and confidence, preparing you for a variety of performance settings within industry.

Physical skills
15 credits

The physical skills two module will bring together the skill and knowledge you developed in your first year. You will creatively explore the skills you learnt in the previous physical skills module, investigating the techniques that will develop physical practice.

15 credits

Much like the previous first year singing module you will explore in greater detail the foundations of technical performance and skill that are relative to singing. You will be taught specific techniques, and you will develop an awareness of healthy vocal practice.

15 credits

Drawing upon your first year voice module you will develop an in-depth understanding and ability to use your voice as an instrument. Exploring accents, and different ways to utilise your voice you will broaden your skills palette, enhancing your CV and career prospects.

Year three

Your final year of study will predominantly be performance based. Your training will come together in live, public performances in the Production module. In addition to this you will perform for screen and radio in the Recorded Media module.

You will learn the art of preparing audition material and the various formats of the contemporary audition. You will perform to an invited audience of industry professionals in Birmingham and London as part of the Professional Studies Module. This module will provide you with the help, advice and professional know-how to start a career, enabling you to set out into your first job with confidence and success.

During you final year of training you will partake in three professional productions out of a season of 10, which take place in external theatres.

60 credits

The production module gives you the opportunity to rehearse and perform to the public in a complex and professional environment.  You shall further develop your technical, research, interpretative and specialist communication skills. You will also study the communication of character and narrative, as well as effective use of props and costumes.

Recorded media
30 credits

This module is designed specifically to equip you with the diverse range of skills that are needed to perform live, to radio or screen. Using the facilities within the University, such as our state-of-the-art radio/TV studios, you will perform to a microphone or camera. Developing your ability to perform in a variety of contexts and environments.

Professional development
30 credits

This final year module is specially developed to equip you with the necessary professional skills to embark on your career as an actor. Lectures and seminars will include careers advice from accountants, casting directors, agents, British Actors Equity and working actors. You will have the chance to showcase your work to industry professionals, such as agents and casting directors, in Birmingham, and in some cases, London.

Course Structure

Throughout the course you will be taught through a series of modules. These modules will each cover a different aspect of the acting field, teaching you a diverse, yet specialised combination of knowledge and skill. Take a look at these monologues by our third year actors to get a sense of how far they have come in three years of training.

Mara Huf

Mara is a dual American and German citizen living in London. She graduated from the BRIT School of performing arts before completing her training at RBC. After graduating Mara signed to Jewell Wright Ltd and appeared in the FDS showcase in New York City, which showcased the variety and depths of talent of recent graduates of the top UK Drama Schools.

Shobat Kadara

Birmingham born Shobat appeared in 'Trojan Horse' at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe which was named as the third best show overall. The play also won the Amnesty Freedom of Expression Award and a Scotsman Fringe First award. Based on real-life events that saw several Birmingham schools being investigated following claims of ‘hardline' Muslim teachers and governors plotting to control them, Trojan Horse depicts a community torn apart by racial division, British values and the culture of the counterterrorism strategy known as Prevent.

Nicole Miners

Originally from Hong Kong, Nicole's favourite project since graduating has been the research and development for Yellow Earth's 'Forgotten' at the Arcola Theatre: "It was such an amazing experience working with so many amazingly talented East Asian actors and creatives, and I can't wait to see the finished product soon!" Nicole is signed with Simon & How Associates.

Student stories

Brennan Reece

Brennan Reece has put his experience of performing to good use, now combining his acting work with a promising career as an award-winning stand-up comedian.

Breenan has also become a stand-up comic working all over the UK, winning the Manchester New Comedian of the Year award in 2010 and reaching the finals stages of other prestigious comedy competitions.

Gillian McGregor

As well as forging a promising stage and screen career, Birmingham School of Acting graduate Gillian McGregor is also building her reputation behind the camera, recently writing and starring in her own short film.

Gillian's career highlights have been working with BAFTA-nominated director Julian Gilbey in 'A Lonely Place to Die' with Golden Globe nominee Melissa George and having the support of Working Title Films to write and shoot the film 'Hit Girls'. Having the opportunity to work with some of the most talented people in the film business was a real honour.

Study and work abroad

If you are interested in undertaking part of your studies abroad, the Erasmus scheme may be of interest to you. It allows higher education students to study for part of their degree in another European country.

It is open to undergraduates in their second year (or above) and offers a unique opportunity to enhance your CV and experience new cultures. If you study with us you will have access to an Erasmus co-ordinator, who can provide information about which institutions we have links with.

Find out more

Further study

Graduates of this course have developed essential skills and knowledge required for further study. If you wish to develop your studies to the next level this course will give you the confidence and advanced scholarship knowledge required for a Master’s degree within the arts. 

The programme seeks to advance your knowledge, understanding and practice of professional voice, providing a progression route into further study, or employment.

Graduate success  Catherine Tyldesley

Catherine Tyldesley is a successful British actress, who until recently played Eva Price in Coronation Street

After a showcase at Birmingham School of Acting (now Royal Birmingham Conservatoire), Catherine was signed by United Agents and her first TV role was in a series called No Angels for Channel 4. In the first few years of her career she supplemented acting roles with singing work, including singing before games at Manchester United.

She first appeared in Coronation Street in a guest role as a midwife in 2006. Her first starring role was in the 1920s-set BBC drama Lilies and she has also appeared in Holby City, The Royal, Shameless, Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps and Trollied. Catherine also completed a three-month stint in Emmerdale as Prison Officer Abi Peterson. She took up the role of Eva Price in Coronation Street in June 2011, which she played until Eva’s final scenes aired in August 2018.

In 2018 Catherine was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Honorary Fellowships are given to those who act as an inspiration for the University’s students, as examples of people who have forged an outstanding career in music, acting and the related arts.

Read more about Catherine Tyldesley

Trips and Visits

There are timetabled theatre trips such as to the RSC but you’ll be encouraged to make the most of the opportunity of free tickets to all Conservatoire productions and performance events. We recommend you attend these performances not only to familiarise yourself with the Birmingham performing arts industry, but to network, and broaden your knowledge.

Birmingham is a modern city with a thriving creative sector to explore, with various theatres and venues across the city, there are plenty of opportunities for you to partake in performing arts events. Check out our Theatre map of Birmingham to see what the UK's second city has to offer.

Enhancing your employability skills

Through studying the theory and practice of key acting processes you will be equipped with the  skills expected of a contemporary actor. You’ll be able to engage critically and creatively, mapping out the performance possibilities of a production text.

The course will teach you the necessary skillto perform as an actor to a professional standard, fully preparing you to pursue a professional career in acting.

Throughout the programme you will develop a firm, theoretical knowledge and practical skills base to build your ability to perform professionally. You’l learn how to be proactive in creating employment opportunities and you will be able to successfully operate in a professional theatrical environment.

You will develop the ability to apply background research skills and enquiry methods to support and enrich performance. You will be able to blend the theory and practice of acting processes, integrating this into your performance and relating it to media industries. Therefore you will be thoroughly prepared, with the confidence and competency to take on live, radio and screen roles.

In addition to this you will be encouraged to respond creatively and imaginatively to source material. This will help you think proactively, responding to the demands of industry, as well as specifically being able to relate this to acting forms such as improvisation. Through the development of an open-minded attitude to all kinds of drama and performance you will be well equipped to tackle and succeed in various roles.

Throughout the course there are opportunities to compete in various industry competitions, including the Carleton Hobbs Competition for Radio, organised by the BBC, the Sam Wanamaker Festival at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, London, and the Sondheim Performer of the Year Competition, organised by the Society for West End Theatres.

Recent graduates are currently employed with The Royal Shakespeare Company, The National Theatre, The BBC and Independent Television, and in film (see Alumni Section).


OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.


BCU Graduate+

Through our courses we give you the skills and experience needed to get a head start when applying for jobs. But we offer something extra too – Graduate+.

Our unique programme gives you the chance to develop valuable skills outside of the more formal classroom learning. We award points for Graduate+ activities (including firewalking!) and these can be put towards a final Graduate+ award.

More about Graduate+

Graduate jobs

We’re incredibly proud of our graduates, and are committed to offering you a high-level of training to pave the way for your future acting career. Recent graduates are currently employed with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre, the BBC and independent television and in film.

We have a diverse and exciting number of notable alumni from our BA (Hons) Acting course, such as Catherine Tyldesley.

Our graduates have not only gone onto work on screen, we have an impressive number of graduates working in live theatre. Amy Booth-Steel and Iris Roberts have starred in various West End productions, and Jenny Palmer has successfully worked in Austria touring with Vienna’s English Theatre. Our graduates regularly work internationally with companies such as The Vienna English Theatre Company and Whitehorse Theatre Company; and they have also appeared in productions in Chicago, San Francisco and New York, Paris and Berlin.

Throughout your studies you’ll have the chanceto collaborate with students from other arts and creatively-led courses,  opening up a wide range of career routes for you. For example, previous graduates have collaborated with students from the School of Media, in the production of radio dramas and students across the acting, stage management course regularly collaborate to produce their own work.


Students need to develop the basic freelance personal management skills in order to operate as a professional actor. In group lectures, workshops and seminars, students will gain professional advice and guidance from tutors and relevant industry professionals and specialists.

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

The UK remains one of the world's leading study destinations

The UK remains one of the world's leading study destinations for international students.

The first-class experience offered by universities are reflected in the world’s largest survey of international students. International students are more likely to recommend the UK than any other leading English-language study destination.

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.


BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Popular home countries

Our students come from around the world but our acting course is most popular with international students from:

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Our Facilities


Royal Birmingham Conservatoire is based at the University’s City Centre Campus. A part of the Arts, Design and Media faculty, we are based within Millennium Point but also have access to facilities at the Parkside Building.

The Parkside Building boasts state-of-the-art facilities such as radio and television studios, edit suites, photography studios, and much more. 

Rehearsal space

There are ten rehearsal spaces, a ‘black box’ performance studio, showers, lockers and workshop space within the Department of Acting. The ‘black box’ performance studio, also known as the Patricia Yardley Studio, is our in-house performance theatre. Using variable acoustics which can be adjusted, and housing a fully operational lighting rig and a quadraphonic sound system.

Each studio contains: specialist acoustic panelling; specialist sprung floors; a heating system that radiates heat equally around the studio; and an air replacement system that maintains a constant room temperature.


Students regularly perform at professional theatres across the West Midlands, including The Birmingham Central Library Theatre; Crescent Theatre; Hippodrome Studio (Patrick Centre); The Old Rep Theatre and The Drum.

Danièle Sanderson

Head of Undergraduate Studies (Acting); BA (Hons) Acting Course director

Danièle started life as a Drama student, training at the Drama Centre, London. She followed her interest in the body and actor by training in Physical theatre both in London and in Paris. After working for 10 years as a freelance actor and movement director, her interest turned to directing and she gained a Masters in Theatre Directing from Middlesex University which afforded her the opportunity of further studies in Moscow and Madrid.

Danièle started her working life with Birmingham School of Acting in 1999 as a freelance director and was invited to join the full time staff in 2001 as the course director for the post-graduate degree in acting. In 2004, she was appointed course director for the BA in Acting and in 2006 become the Deputy Director of BSA. Since the school became part of Royal Birmingham Conservatoire in 2017 Danièle has become Director of Undergraduate Studies for Acting as well as continuing as course director for the BA Acting.

Read Danièle's full profile

Stephen Simms

Vice Principal - Acting, Professor of Actor Education

Stephen is the Vice Principal of Royal Birmingham Conservatoire - Acting, one of the UK's leading conservatoires of acting, where he is also the Head of Acting. He is also Professor of Actor Education, the only person to hold this position in the country. He directs and teaches on the acting courses at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Recent full-scale productions include Shakespeare's 'The Winter's Tale' and 'Two Noble Kinsmen', Beaumont and Fletchers' 'Philaster', Buchner's 'Woyzeck' and Wedekind's 'Lulu'. Most recently he has directed the award-winning musical 'Spring Awakening', 'The Revenger's Tragedy', 'Total Eclipse' and 'A Clockwork Orange'.

Read Stephen's full profile