Simon Stephens - College of Arts - University of Derby

Simon Stephens, Theatre Arts, 1999

Simon is Director of the Theatre department at The BRIT School for Performing Arts & Technology, Croydon, South London. His role at the school involves him developing the creative and artistic theatre based skills of his students including; acting, directing, performing and script writing related to the various qualifications the department offers.

The BRIT School has produced a number of internationally recognised alumni including recording artists: Adele, Amy Winehouse, Kate Nash, Katie Melua and Leona Lewis.

The school also has alumni, including stage actor Roberts Emms; who took on the lead role of Albert Narracot in War Horse at the New London Theatre, working in other major theatre companies including The RSC, and The Royal Court as well as on television and in film.

Life at Derby

Simon graduated from Derby’s BA (Hons) Theatre Studies and Literature degree course in 1999 which he really enjoyed as it gave him flexible options to specialise in. Whilst studying under lecturer Yvonne Hurt, Theatre Arts Programme Leader Simon developed his performance, writing skills and in-depth subject knowledge which he now draws on to create lesson plans for his own students. Yvonne and Simon have kept in touch since Simon graduated and Yvonne has supported his career development.

Watch Simon in action at The Brit School

Alumni Relations visited Simon at The Brit School to find out how his BA (Hons) Theatre Studies and Literature degree from Derby has helped him in his career to date.

Top Tips

Simon’s top tips for students choosing to study this type of degree course at Derby are:

  • Spend time in the city
  • Go to one of the Open Day days on offer
  • Visit Derby Theatre and see a performance
  • Keep up to date with current practice
  • Think about what aspects of theatre interests you most.

He said: “The teaching on offer at Derby is second to none, innovative and other universities should be looking to model their theatre studies in the same way.

“With the Theatre Studies course being based at the heart of a major, live theatre venue in the city of Derby, students have an invaluable opportunity to learn, perform, and develop in a professional environment.”

Annual earnings in arts education can be in the region of £35-£45k and Simon encourages his own students to consider Derby for their further study once they leave The BRIT School.

The future

Whilst continuing with his current role, Simon is undertaking a Masters in Shakespeare and Theatre which is helping him to develop as a professional practitioner; preparing him for a possible move into lecturing at a higher education level in the future. 

Simon Stephens - Director of Theatre at The BRIT School of Performing Art and Technology "The teaching on offer at Derby is second to none, innovative and other universities should be looking to model their theatre studies in the same way." Simon Stephens