For many students who pursue a career in acting at Rotherham College, the dream is to become a famous actor working in films or to perform on the West End stage. For Nikki Taggart, an ex-student who completed her BTEC National Diploma in Acting in 2008 at the College, those dreams have become a reality.

Nikki discovered a passion for acting after meeting Denny Smith, a Performing Arts tutor at the College and she recalls how Denny’s passion and enthusiasm inspired her to become an actor.

“Before I met Denny, I knew I wanted to be an actor. But people just snigger at you. No one believes you can be an actor when you come from a northern town like Rotherham,” she says.

“Denny believed in me. He told me that I had a talent and that I could become an actor; I think I believed him because he had been a professional actor. He has more passion and drive than any other tutor I’ve ever met, he was a role model to me and I had huge respect for him”.

Nikki took A Levels before coming to Rotherham College, but felt a vocational course was much better suited to her: “I studied A Level Performing Arts. The difference between A Levels and Vocational was massive for me,”

She added: “At A Level I studied the theory of drama and produced assignments and sat exams, while at the same time having to focus on other subjects. At Vocational Level, I got to experience a much more practical element by performing in productions and I focused solely on one subject.”

She flourished on the course and got distinctions across the board. After completing her course in 2008, she decided to gain experience on the stage by auditioning for a play at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield. She was successful and landed a part in the production working alongside experienced professional actors.

Nikki says: “My experience of performing at the Crucible provided me with the confidence to apply for drama school. I had developed the skills that my course had provided me with and I transferred them into a working environment”.

She applied for three drama schools and was successful in gaining a place at the iconic Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Out of the 5,000 people who applied to study at the school, she was one of only four girls who were offered a place.

“I didn’t realise what a big achievement it was until I walked around the theatre and saw alumni such as Patrick Stewart, Miranda Richardson and Pete Postlethwaite. I was in awe at some of the renowned actors who had attended this drama school” she said.

She recalls how the skills she gained on her course prepared her for employment, saying: “As soon as I finished my course, I was grateful for the skills I had gained. I was prepared and equipped with a good knowledge about the different principles of acting and felt ready for employment”.

She completed her course at Bristol Old Vic in July 2014. She then went to work for Trafalgar Studios in the West End, starring in Days of Wine and Roses. Critics described her performance in the play as ‘mesmerising to watch.’
Not content with settling for the bright lights of the West End, she successfully auditioned for a role in an upcoming movie called ‘The Rise and Fall of the Krays.’ The film is based on the notorious gangsters, Ronnie and Reggie Kray and is set for release in 2015. Nikki will star in the film alongside illustrious actor Tom Hardy and British stars Christopher Eccleston and David Thewlis.Nikki has already built up an impressive portfolio working on both stage and screen since leaving the College. She has aspirations to act in more films and with her on screen debut coming in 2015, you could be seeing a lot more of the budding actress in the future.

“The tutors are amazing and extremelysupportive. That’s why I’m acting in films and on the West End.”

Nikki Taggart
Performing Arts

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Saturday 29 June
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