Arts Emergency

Jackie Smart

Head of Drama at Kingston University

I loved Drama at school and also went to dance classes from aged 6-16, performing in local pantomimes. I wanted to be an actor but there was no way I could have afforded to go to Drama school and my parents were keen that I should get a ‘proper’ degree (which I am very glad about now). I am from a working class family and was of the first generation to go to university, and I can remember it all felt a bit mysterious and intimidating at the time – but here I am now running a University course! I acted briefly after leaving University but was more interested in directing by that time. I set up my own company and started teaching as a way to earn a living while I made shows. After a while, I realised that I loved teaching – and I could direct shows with students – so that’s the path I followed, taking time out of work to get a higher degree after a few years. I’ve been at Kingston since 2003. I have volunteered for Arts Emergency because I was very lucky when I was young in having great teachers (and parents) to advise and encourage me so I’d like to do that for someone else.