Steven Finley

MA Acting

Steven’s path towards acting wasn’t the most typical; he started off his academic journey studying Psychology in Montreal, Canada, before realising his calling at BCU’s Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. 

“I was studying for a bachelor’s in psychology before realising that I really wanted to study acting as a vocational career, and I was always involved in performing arts throughout my science degree for fun. Instead of using my acting to inform my science, I was using science to inform my character and my creative work. I think I needed psychology to allow me to approach acting in a different way and get me out of my comfort zone; The MA Acting course allows you to come into it with all kinds of transferrable skills, no matter what previous degree you've done.

I moved back to the UK because I think there’s more of a priority and a focus on the arts here. I really enjoy the heritage that the UK holds for the performing arts, especially Stratford. The close proximity Birmingham has to Stratford was a huge deal for me; To be that close to something that is so central to the UK’s legacy felt special. I’d heard about Royal Birmingham Conservatoire through a family friend, and I knew of it as one of the best institutions to study acting.  

When I was younger, I often did sound and lighting for my school’s productions when I got the chance - I always enjoyed getting involved in the technical side of things. Both of my parents are performers, so watching them made me start to see acting as not only a potential career path but something you could always just keep improving at and exploring. 

I had a warm welcome when I started at BCU because the MA starts off with the previous master’s students performing their own work. It’s exciting because you anticipate that that’s going to be you in a year and think, wow. Maybe I could create something like that. 

Our course has a very small cohort which is nice because you get close, and you can talk to each other about anything. You get a lot of support, and you feel like there’s a lot more focus on your journey as an individual. When you feel like a priority, you end up putting in a lot more focused work, and you feel like your work matters.  

BCU has made me confident in setting up a daily routine because acting is about daily practice – it’s like most skills where if “you don't use it, you will lose it”. It’s rewarding because you start to see that if you do these daily exercises, you will evolve and turn into the artist that you want to be. The academics are good at supporting you through that. 

By the time I’ve completed my course, I'd like to have been able to really draw a line under my time here and to have consolidated all of the work, but I know that progress will be always ongoing. I’d like to feel ready to start looking at getting representation. I hope to look at joining a touring acting troupe of some kind. 

My advice to anyone wanting to study an MA in acting is to be open to new experiences and thinking differently. It takes a lot to transform yourself, your body, and your mental decision-making to be able to play out somebody else's story on stage or on camera or wherever it may be, so you have to be brave. You must allow yourself to take risks in your work and not be afraid to fail for you to grow and explore new territories.  

This course has really encouraged and supported me to find my own voice and unique way of expressing myself as an artist. My journey here has felt fulfilling and rewarding because acting is so exciting, dynamic, and always evolving, so I have had a lot of self-discovery and personal growth.

To me, I AM BCU means evolving from a psychology student to a confident actor, blending science and art, finding a supportive community, and embracing the exciting journey of self-discovery."