Ashleigh Summer Edwards - Theatre & Performance Alumni
"Believe in your own ability! Be yourself and learn to take direction with grace and dignity. You are there to learn. So fail, take advice and then thrive"
Ashleigh graduated from GSA's BA Theatre & Performance in 2017 and is currently working with Candlelight Murder Mystery. Previous roles includes Cygnet Theatre, No Walls Theatre and OAProductions. We asked her about her work and time at GSA.
1. What is your current role? Freelance Actor
2. Had you always wanted to pursue this career? How did your interest begin? Yes, ever since I was 5 and I played Whoops-a-Daisy Angel in the Christmas nativity.
3. In your opinion, what are the most important skills to have in your chosen career? Creativity, perseverance, confidence, and the ability to work in a collective.
4. What do you consider to be the most exciting part of your work? Every day is different. As a freelance I do a lot of projects with a lot of different pools of performers. I often see the same people at castings! I saw two actors so often that we decided to set up our own theatre company - By Design Theatre. I get to create and produce work that I want to make.
5. What attracted you to choose this particular degree programme and institution? GSA was my first choice as a training school. The lecturers are passionate and leading practitioners in their fields. Guildford is a beautiful town where I felt safe being an 18 year old moving away from home.
6. What is your strongest or happiest memory of your time at GSA? Taking my final year performance ‘One in Four’ to the Brighton Fringe Festival. It was an incredible experience to be part of the larger theatre community.
7. What were the best things about your degree? The end of year performances. Shakespeare with Julia Carey in first year. A Chance to Hide with Andrew Davidson in second year. And One In Four in final year.
8. How did you change as a person during your time at GSA / University of Surrey? I was able to embrace my strengths and develop even further whilst working alongside like-minded talented peers. I was also able to highlight my weaknesses, self-assess and criticise my flaws so I could grow as an actor. I also learnt how to live independently and cook a mean thai curry!
9. What one piece of advice would you give to people who have just started the programme? Believe in your own ability! Be yourself and learn to take direction with grace and dignity. You are there to learn. So fail, take advice and then thrive.
10. What are your top tips for students aspiring to work in your profession? Embrace all opportunities that come your way! It won’t happen overnight so be patient and be kind. You will bump into a lot of the same people at castings so make friends, network and never forget to smile.