St James’s 2005 Leaver

Malvern Alumnae 100 Felicity Houlbrooke

I always hugely enjoyed Drama whilst at St James’s and relished the opportunities of performing in school productions and singing in the choir (headed by the inspirational Mrs Lynne Lindner). However, I never considered performing as a career option.  I went to Sheffield University to study English Literature, having developed a passion for it whilst at school, largely thanks to Ms Angie Fearnside who instilled a love of Shakespeare in me that I still frequently draw upon now. Whilst at university, I became heavily involved in the University Theatre Company and met people who were planning to go on to train in acting after their degree. This had never occurred to me as an option and so I explored the idea further and gained a place at Mountview Academy in London to study on their postgraduate acting course.

After my training, I was fortunate enough to be taken on by a wonderful agency who I am still represented by now. I subsequently worked in a number of commercial theatre productions including UK tours of: The Importance of Being Earnest, Agatha Christie’s Black Coffee alongside Liza Goddard and Robert Powell and The King’s Speech with Jason Donovan. I have also had the privilege of performing around the world, including Off Broadway in Henry Naylor’s award-winning Echoes.

One of my favorite roles to date is that of Bobbie in the West End production of The Railway Children at the purpose-built King’s Cross Theatre. It was a wonderful experience being able to recreate such a well-known and loved story on stage, as well as act alongside a real vintage steam train!

My work on touring productions has brought me to Malvern Theatres three times thus far, most recently in November in a production of, My Mother Said I Never Should. Each occurrence was incredibly special to me. It is a privilege to be able to stand on the stage that fed me so much inspiration whilst growing up.

What does success look like?

Living a happy and balanced life. Achieving your goals, whatever they may be, or being happy with the point you have reached. At work, it’s being highly regarded amongst your peers and colleagues.

What is your best piece of advice?

Although knock-backs are hard, try not to take them personally. Much of the time, it is simply a case of you not being the right fit for that particular project or role. Learn from it and you will build resilience.  All you can do is go in and show them what you do. Be your brilliant self. No-one else can do that. Remember, they want you to do well and to be the right person. You could be the solution to their problem.