Former Student Profile: Grace Hussey-Burd, Class of 2013
We are looking forward to welcoming Grace back to school as one of our Year 12 Inspire and Career Talk Speakers Tuesday 3 March Period 4 in the Hall.
What years did you attend WHS? 2007-2013 (I started in Year 8 after taking the 12 plus and swapping schools).
What did you get up to at WHS in terms of study and extracurricular activities?
I was very much into the Arts, History and Drama and I really enjoyed my subjects (probably because I had ace teachers!). I did a LOT of drama as extracurricular in school, I was in most of the school plays and that took up my time, but I was very lucky that most of my close friends also did Drama! You could usually find me at the top of Verney finishing my Art coursework (my ideas where always massive and I never had enough time!) or in the Drama block. I was also Deputy Head Girl in Year 13 which kept me very busy trying to organise all those school councils I know everyone loves so much...
Do you have any fond memories you’d like to share?
We went on a Drama residential weekend away in Year 13 to devise our shows for our Drama assessments which was just the BEST time. We got to muck around with ideas but also we bonded massively as a class. I remembered the pieces that came out of it were amazing and I'm still really proud of what we made!
What did you do after school?
After school I went to the University of Birmingham and studied Drama and Theatre Arts, it's a great course and a great uni. Birmingham also has so many drama societies so I really got stuck in with performing there which further solidified the idea that I wanted to do this as a career. I looked into to drama schools and auditioned for them in my final year of uni. I finished University in 2016 and went on to train at East 15 Acting School and got an MA in Acting. Drama school was one of the best times of my life and although it was really tough I’m so glad I took the time to go. I made amazing friends, worked hard and learnt so much.
I went to Birmingham for a lot of different reasons. Firstly, the campus is BEAUTIFUL. It was also the best uni at the time for the course I wanted to do which was a big bonus. The Drama and Theatre Arts course has a good mix of practical work and essays which I really liked about it. Also, I think it's the university with most societies in the UK (that might be wrong now but it was right at the time!) so there is always a million things to do and get involved in. Finally, I just really liked the vibe, students are very friendly and chill, it doesn't feel pretentious at all- I miss it!
What are you up to now?
Now I am a working actress mainly in theatre. I've worked up and down the country for jobs and do anything from Shakespeare to children shows, immersive theatre, comedy and new writing. To make sure I earn enough to support my acting (because sometimes you go can go months without an acting job) I teach drama, I've worked as a motivational speaker, I've been a bartender, I even used to give out free samples of chocolate at London train stations! Acting isn't always as glamorous as you might think!
What do you know now that you didn’t in Year 13 that you’d like to share with current students?
Please don't worry! (Which I know it's easier said than done). I remember Year 13 being amazing but also really stressful and I wish I had someone saying not to worry about it so much and just go with my gut instinct about choices/uni/career plans. Don't let teachers, family, friends convince you that your choice is 'wrong'. If I'd done that I would have done a degree in History at a university I didn't really want to go to and I would have probably been miserable!
Also, don't compare yourself to others! It can be tempting especially when you hear people got into their unis or got good marks or even got a load of likes on Instagram but it's so draining and you're already wonderful. Spend that time focusing on yourself instead and what you're good at and interested in.