Eleanor Hocking

MA Acting

Eleanor was first introduced to the idea of acting through their love of watching theatre while studying for a bachelor’s degree in illustration, but never thought they could be the one standing up on stage. Now, she’s living in a totally new city and having the confidence to complete their individual performance under the spotlight.   

"A year after completing my foundation year, I let things sit for a bit as I worked. I started looking into BCU’s Royal Birmingham Conservatoire because I really liked the idea of the focused and specific training that comes with a conservatoire.

I ended up applying to two other conservatoires alongside BCU, but after coming here for my record audition, I was sold. Do you know when people say you can just feel it when something is right for you? I think that’s what happened. Everyone was really nice, I liked the building, and I got such a good impression from the tutors and talking to other students about their auditions.  

I’d barely been to Birmingham before; I’d always pass through here when I lived in London and got the train to the North where I’m from. I spent the day in the city when I came to the recall audition, and I could just see myself living here. It took me a little while to get used to Birmingham after living in London, but I really liked it because it was quieter and there's a lot here if you look for it. I especially loved where the acting campus is - Bournville is really green, leafy, and so peaceful.   

I struggled with homesickness at first. It was hard to get used to a new environment and all these new people; I'm still a bit of a shy person. The difference now is that my class feels like a family which is so lovely.   

I had set my sights on doing illustration as a career when I was studying for my undergraduate in art at Edinburgh University, but I knew I had an interest in theatre. I used to watch performances and think that I could never do that, because I was really shy and reserved. Despite this, it was my love for watching theatre gave me that drive to keep trying. I started taking acting classes on the side and more and more of my time started to be taken up by acting, and my confidence grew over time. While I was there, I got involved with the University stage company. I auditioned for a lot of roles and ended up doing a couple of plays and short films.  

Having made a solo show is a real milestone for me in terms of personal confidence. It isn't something I ever thought I could do because it's just me on stage for half an hour. Being able to hold that space on your own on stage – that’s something I'm proud of having achieved.  

The tutors have been really encouraging. I think just being able to talk to them and have conversations. Having so much feedback from lessons and assessments has been helpful, especially the constructive criticism. There have been times when it's really boosted my confidence to get good feedback, as it has reassured me that I’m on the right path. 

I would love to have had my first paid role by the time I graduate. I'm currently looking for representation, so to have an agent would be amazing. I have a very talented cohort around me, so we have spoken about potentially making a piece of work together in the future.  

If someone is considering coming to RBC, I’d say be prepared for a lot of work, but also try to have as much fun as you can while doing it. Learn how to manage your time now and also make sure to take time for yourself. If you’re struggling, remember why you came and focus on what it is that you enjoy. I know it's cliche, but be yourself, because nobody's got any reason to dislike you. Everyone's going to be really nice.

To me, I AM BCU means discovery, overcoming shyness, and forming bonds like family."