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Meet: Alexandra James
Performing Arts alumni Alexandra James talks to Oaklands College about her experience at the college and what she is doing since graduating from college.
Alexandra James, a former Oaklands College student who studied a Higher National Diploma in Performing Arts after completing her Level 3 Extended Diploma in Art & Design, speaks to the college about her experience at Oaklands College.
Alexandra, who lives locally but regularly tours the United Kingdom, due to her acting commitments with BSL Theatre Production, sits down to talk about her time as a student at Oaklands College.
Q: Tell us about your time at Oaklands. What led you to study here and what did you enjoy most about your time at college?
“My family and I had a deal: If I passed my English GCSE, I was allowed to enroll onto the Performing Arts course. Sadly, I didn’t get my English GCSE the first time round, so I had to take Art & Design Level 3.
I worked hard and achieved my English GCSE grade through a retake, and so then nothing could stop me and I started studying Performing Arts.
The best part about my experience at Oaklands College was the new friendships I created, I felt I can be truly who I am surrounded by the students and teachers at the college. I woke up and looked forward to class every morning.”
Q: What would you say has been the major highlight or achievement during your time at Oaklands?
“When I started at Oaklands College, I never thought I wanted to perform stand-up comedy, but we were required to perform our strongest skill as one of our assignments, my class-mates told me that I’m a very funny person, so I thought why not.
It was challenging, I started writing jokes about my life, my deafness, being black, everything! As soon as I hit the stage, it was incredible, I noticed when I was on stage I would start talking like an American because my inspiration was Kevin Hart.
On the day of our final show (called Edges) – Which involved acting and singing at a theatre in London – My cochlear implant decided to stop working, so I couldn’t hear anything at all! I warned my fellow cast members, directors, crew and support workers and had to keep my eye on cues from my fellow cast members. It was very challenging but I managed to get through it – We all worked together and put on a great show!”
Q: You mentioned the BSL Theatre Production company? What is your role there?
“I play Messua, who is the birth mother of Mowgli in the Jungle Book book and film series. We travel around the United Kingdom delivering theatre shows in-line with British Sign Language.”
Q: What advice would you give to today’s Oaklands students interested in taking up Performing Arts and Dance?
Don’t let someone else’s journey put you off, everyone gets their time to shine, but only if you work hard for it, it’s important to remember that everything happens for a reason and if you keep working hard your time will come.
If you’re inspired by Alexandra’s story and want to take up Performing Arts at Oaklands College, you can look at our courses here.