Halifax student overcomes anxiety and dreams of Edinburgh Fringe Festival show

Rhiannon Thomas who attended North Halifax Grammar School
Rhiannon Thomas who attended North Halifax Grammar School

A talented Performing Arts student from Halifax has overcome anxiety to set her sights on the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Rhiannon Thomas, who attended North Halifax Grammar School and Huddersfield New College, had danced at a young age before drifting away from performance due to nerves and a lack of confidence.

“I knew I wanted to perform again and just before college I attended some drama workshops. These allowed me to explore new performance types. I realised this was something I wanted to do, something I wanted to take further to help me regain confidence.”

The 21-year-old has gone on to gain a wealth of experience in television and theatre since making the move to Edge Hill University in 2016, as well as developing performance skills through participation in two successive Circus Intensives.

Rhiannon is represented by Mint Casting, a link-up through which she has worked on shows such as Hollyoaks and ITV’s Girlfriends.

“They gave me great experience of taking direction and being on camera, as well as of working within the industry itself.”

As well as working front-of-house in the Arts Centre at Edge Hill, Rhiannon has gained experience as a preformative helper with Joanne Tremarco’s The Birth of Death, and as a stage-manager and performer in To You To You To You by Lisa Alexander and guests.

“That also allowed me to create a three-minute physical theatre piece in response to a provocation by Lisa. It was a great look into the world of professional theatre.”

Research and development has also come Rhiannon’s way thanks to a link-up with respected artistic director Jen Heyes and performance artist David Hoyle on their Hedda Gabler project.

“Through these sessions I got a better understanding of what happens when the process surrounding the creation of theatrical shows starts, and what the company focus on or develop to begin with.”

Post-university, Rhiannon has one main aim on her mind.

“I want to create and perform my first theatre show at Edge Hill’s Arts Centre, with the ambition to take it to the Edinburgh Fringe and further locations around Britain.”

Rhiannon was selected for an On Course Excellence scholarship in 2018 – being awarded £2,000 towards her studies.