International success for former student and voice over artist

3rd June 2019

Former student, Alan Shires, tells us about his experience at Leeds City College; from re-taking GCSEs to becoming a successful international voice over artist.

What did you study at Leeds City College and when?

I started my studies at Leeds City College in 2007 and left in 2010. I did not have many GCSEs when I left school so college was a second chance for me. In my first year, I studied a Performing Arts first diploma along with English language.

Alan Shires

In my second and third year, I studied a Performing Arts national certificate. Alongside this, I re-took maths. I passed my GCSEs with Cs and my Performing Arts with Merits, Distinctions and Distinction*s.

Why did you choose Leeds City College?

I chose Leeds City College and my selected courses because acting is my passion, I love to perform. I dreamed of going to university one day and becoming professionally trained.

The course content was so enjoyable whilst I was at college. There was a good balance of practical and theory. The theory in the course gave me a strong foundation for the practical. As for the practical, it was real life experience doing the job, we performed to thousands of people over the space of three years.

What have you been doing since leaving college?

After I left college, I studied for three more years to get my BA (Hons) in Acting. This would not have been possible without the GCSEs I re-took alongside Performing Arts. After that, I got an agent in London, visited LA, and then eventually set up my own business which is what I am doing to date.

From time to time I have even been asked to speak at conferences and teach classes; for a year I even had my own theatre group. The college took something I enjoyed (acting) and made me realise it is something I could make a career out of, until that point I always thought the life of an actor was just a fantasy. My amazing course tutors made me realise that this fantasy of mine could easily be a reality.

Tell us about your current role.

I am a voice over actor and my job varies massively, I have clients all over the world and every day is so unique. One day I can be dubbing a cartoon into English, the next day I could be reading government legislation, it really does vary and I would not have it any other way as it means every day is different.

What would you say to someone considering coming to college?

When I speak to people considering education after school I always tell them that they are at the age where their life is in their own hands. If you want to take charge of your life and put yourself on course for an amazing future, then college is the right path for you. What Leeds City College did for me, they can do for you too.

Finally, one thing I would say is to enjoy every minute of your experience. Pick a subject you love and throw yourself into it. Never give up on that dream and fight for it viciously. People will try to stand against you, but obstacles are there to be overcome.

Leeds City College