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Barbican Theatre Performance Training Alumni
Zoe Bloss: Actor & Vlogger

Member of COMPANY b Theatre and Theatre FORCE until 2016.

Zoe recently returned to Barbican Theatre to play Viola / Cessario in their professional summer #BardInTheYard production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night (August 2017).

Zoe says,

“I went to Barbican Theatre for a year when I was 15 (when it was called Roots) when I was doing GCSE Drama – when it was led by Mark Laville. When I came back from Uni [Zoe is Drama graduate of Kingston University] and auditioning for Drama Schools I wanted to join a theatre group where I could ‘practice my craft’ and continue to challenge myself and grow. As I’d liked it there when I was younger I got in touch and came to sit in at the end the year. After I watched the class I applied to audition for COMPANY b Theatre the following year. I really enjoyed the collaborative nature of the workshop auditions – it was really friendly with no pressure. As I was one of the oldest it was really interesting to work with a range of age groups. Being auditioned made it feel like you were working at a certain level. Jon [Nash] and Mark really treated us like professionals – working on pieces like The Spice Box and being part of Barbican Theatre’s professional production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 2015 [members of COMPANY b played the mechanicals and fairies] in particular was a wonderful experience and so much fun. I met some incredible people and made some excellent connections which enabled me to work on other projects across the City – such as with the City Museum.


 Zoe as Cessario / Viola in Twelfth Night (2017) and as Snout in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2015)  

“Classes such as COMPANY b really do build confidence, self-esteem and self-awareness – not just in performing but also in things like giving presentations or generally how to present yourself, how to problem solve.

I’ve kept in touch with Barbican Theatre since leaving COMPANY b Theatre and I thrilled when I was successful in winning the role of Viola / ‘Cessario’ in their professional production of Twelfth Night. It was an incredible experience working with Jon [Nash] as a director and the other professionals and students in the production.”

Zoe has also been a member of the prestigious National Youth Theatre of Great Britain and has also performed at Wembley! Zoe’s next project is a tour of The Coastguard’s Daughter around Cornwall with Canvas Theatre [playing Olive]. Zoe also has a very informative and funny vlog on YouTube ‘Blossom Bite’ or find her on Twitter @blossombiteblog which we thoroughly recommend you check out!


Zoe as the Map Lady in The Spice Box (2015) and in Martin Crimp’s Attempts On Her Life (2016) 

Nina Raines: Designer & Maker

Member of Tech FORCE Arts FORCE in 2014/15, where she also achieved a Gold Arts Award.

Recently Nina designed Barbican Theatre and Le Navet Bete’s Christmas co-production of The Jungle Book – which included an incredible set and array of costumes and props. 

“I was on my gap year trying to decide what to do with my design career and decided to join TECH Force. I was amazed it was a FREE course and think it is a really valuable course to do – you don’t get much for free these days!

It was great to learn about the technical, lighting and sound elements of theatre production. Through Tech FORCE I decided to apply for the National Student Drama Festival and be part of the technical team – what I learned in Tech FORCE definitely gave me the confidence to apply.

Barbican Theatre is a wonderful, vibrant place to be and through FORCE and my associations with Performance Training I achieved a Gold Arts Award.  Working towards the award meant trying lots elements of theatre to gain a great overall picture – this included parts of Tech FORCE and some design too. I also created my own theatre piece as my final assessment! I would definitely encourage people to join FORCE – everyone is so encouraging and there are so many great mentors to encourage you and learn from.    


Nina working at TR2

I’ve always wanted to be involved in theatre design and I did work experience with Le Navet Bete on The Wizard of Oz in 2014, then the following year I took on a paid position assisting with costumes and scenery for Robin Hood.  When I was invited to be the Designer for The Jungle Book I was over the moon and it was an incredible project to work on”.

As well as working with Le Navet Bete on a number of other productions and on Outpost 2016, Nina has just finished working on a Young Company Show at Theatre Royal and designing for Beyond Face’s Youth Company’s tour of Where’s Abi. She is now starting a yearlong Master’s degree in Scenic Art at Bristol Old Vic.


Nina with the cast and crew of The Jungle Book (2016) and The Jungle Book set Nina designed (2016)


Owen Lewis: Actor

Member of COMPANY b Theatre and Theatre FORCE until 2016.

Owen recently returned to Barbican Theatre to play Sebastian & Valentine in one of the student roles in their professional summer #BardInTheYard production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night (August 2017).

Owen joined COMPANY b Theatre in 2014 when he started his BA Hons degree in Acting at Plymouth Marjon University. 

Owen says

“I didn’t have an A Level in Drama so I felt like I was slightly behind some of my peers on the Actor’s Wheel course as they all already had some form of qualification to back up their experience. Connor Reed who was in the year above me at Marjon told me about Barbican Theatre and COMPANY b so I came along for an audition and was really happy to get in. COMPANY b complimented what I was doing at Marjon but gave me additional experience and skills that helped with my degree. I then found out about the free Theatre FORCE programme and gained a Silver Arts Award through that which is another great addition to the CV. 


Owen as The Plague Doctor (Spice Box 2015) in Martin Crimp’s Attempts On Her Life (2016) and in The Actor’s Wheel production of A Clockwork Orange (2017 – credit Daniel Grindrod Photography)

I really enjoyed working on the Spice Box (I was the Plague Doctor!) and of course being cast in Barbican Theatre’s professional summer #BardInTheYard shows was incredible [Owen was cast in the paid student roles – in Romeo & Juliet in 2016 as Tybalt / Paris and in Twelfth Night in 2017 as Sebastian / Valentine] The experience I gained in COMPANY b helped me get these roles as Barbican Theatre is a local theatre that actively encourages talent local. I think anyone who wants to continue acting should definitely work with Barbican and consider COMPANY b”   

Owen has recently graduated from Plymouth Marjon University with a 1st class honours degree in Acting. He is now planning to move to Bristol or London to pursue an acting career and would ideally like to work on tours as he’d love to travel. However, he has several projects he’s working on in the meantime so his move away may be delayed for now!


Owen as Tybalt (Romeo & Juliet 2016) and Sebastian (Twelfth Night 2017)

Nathan Benjamin: Technician & Actor

Member of Tech FORCE in 2015/16

Nathan was recently a Production & Technical Assistant as well as a Lighting Technician on Barbican Theatre’s summer #BardInTheYard production of Twelfth Night at Royal William Yard (August 2017) 

Nathan joined Tech FORCE from 2015-16 during his second year studying at Marjon for the Actors Wheel Acting degree (he wanted to join the year before but TECH force was full!) Since completing Tech FORCE Nathan has provided tech for a number of Barbican Theatre productions (including this summer’s Twelfth Night at Royal William Yard) as well as being employed by Plymouth Marjon University to cover the technical elements of some of the Actor’s Wheel productions.  Nathan also did the tech for Plymouth Outpost 2016.

Nathan says

“I found out about Tech FORCE as Jamie [Smith, Barbican Theatre’s Production Manager] did the tech on one of the Marjon Actor’s Wheel courses. I’d also done tech at sixth form and was quite interested in it but decided to go down the acting route. But when I met Jamie I decided I wanted to get back into tech learn more about that as well.


Nathan working in the tech booth as part of Tech FORCE and on stage in the Actor’s Wheel production of Caucasian Chalk Circle (2016)

Tech FORCE covers everything from the basics to the more advance stuff, some of which I already knew from before but it was good to have a refresher because I was taught by someone before who was pretty much self-taught so it was great to learn the actual names of lights and the industry standards and safety requirements. It definitely helped with my degree as from the second year I started doing a bit more tech on my performance pieces and in my third year I did all of it!

Tech FORCE gave me great opportunity to work on professional productions and gain real on the job experience in a great mix of locations. I’d definitely recommend anyone involved in theatre to do Tech FORCE. Even actors as it really helps them understand how the tech side of things work.   

I love doing acting and tech in equal measures, but when I graduated in 2016 I realised tech offered a much more regular income! So my plan was to do the tech as a bread and butter job and then act on the side.

Nathan is currently working on the tech for Plymouth Marjon University fresher events and performances for the Actor’s Wheel course and will also be working with Jamie Smith on some elements of Tech FORCE in the 2017-18 academic year. He will also be employed by Marjon to cover the tech elements of the Acting Wheel degree for the 2017-18 academic year.