One of this year’s students, Lizzie, writes here about her recent work experience:

“I recently graduated from The Makeup Academy. In fact I graduated in February 2 months ago and have already found myself in a paid job working on’ One Love: The Bob Marley Musical at The Birmingham Reperatory Theatre. I find this absolutely crazy considering I did a degree in London for 3 years, which amounted to a lot of money on fees and living costs which resulted in a bar job a year after graduating, doing nothing that related to my degree.

That is what is so special about Veronica and her Academy, not only the amazing level of training but the support that you receive afterwards. At university you’re in classes with 30+ people, it is almost impossible for your lecturers to help you on your journey afterwards, which can be terrifying, but Veronica makes it her job. When you sign up for her course, it is not signing up just for that 4 months of training, you’re signing up for her Agency too, where she is constantly finding you work experience, different opportunities and pushing you to do as much as you can. This is exactly what you need when you are fresh into the industry.

Veronica set me up for a few days work experience on ‘One Love’ in the preparation weeks, before the show had actually started. I was so excited to be given this opportunity and felt so lucky. I went in and was quickly set on a task of wrapping and padding out wig blocks, I made coffees and I did a bit of cleaning when it was an appropriate time. The next day I started learning how to do dreadlocks, something that is a huge part of the show with 5 of the wigs being dreads. I turned out to be quite a natural and that was it, I was set dreading for the next few days. The cast were coming in for fittings throughout the days so I got to see how to overcome certain problems.

I watched a run of the show to see where people entered and exited stage, little did I know that this would be useful to me one day and I even tried my hand at knotting with afro hair. I felt like I was learning so much and I felt very grateful. One day I was happily dreading away and was offered a job. The show was bigger than they had thought, they only had 2 wigs assistants working on the show and they physically wouldn’t have been able to do the quick changes and man both sides of stage with just 2 people. And that was it! 2 weeks after graduating I was offered a job in what I had trained in, something that I loved and possibly the best first job I could wish for.

My daily tasks

  • Wet set Cindy’s wig
  • Pick out and shape other principle wigs
  • Heated rollers in wigs where needed
  • Clean and brush facial hair
  • Pick out ensemble wigs
  • Pre set wigs, stage right, stage left or dressing rooms
  • Tattoo cover and wig applications for principles
  • set up work station

During show

  • Make sure beards and wig lace are stuck nicely
  • always have pins on hand
  • Quick changes (Bob has a quick change with a glued lace fronted wig to another glued lace fronted wig whilst getting changed in 90 seconds.)
  • Knowing where you need to be for each change

After show

  • Take off wigs
  • Dressing room sweep to collect wigs
  • Clean the wigs and facial and put back on blocks
  • Clean your area

I want to take this opportunity to thank my tutor Veronica for giving me the best training. Some of the things I was taught I didn’t understand the importance of until putting them in to practice on a job. Not only does she teach you skills and the tools of the trade, but she teaches you how to conduct yourself and how to read situations in a professional environment. I know for a fact that I would not have been given an opportunity like this if it weren’t for Veronica and I am extremely grateful for that.

Also a big thank you to Carole Hancock, (Hair, Wig and Make up designer) Emily Hall (Head of wigs) and Matt Simpson (wig assistant) at The Birmingham Repertory Theatre. Thank you for being so supportive and passing on your knowledge to me. I have had the best time working with you, it was the perfect first job and I couldn’t think of better people to share it with.”


#Birmingham #film #TV #hair #hairdesign #makeup