Welcome to Miss Niamh Crean
An Article by The Guardians of Drama
Recently the school has been very lucky to have gained alumni Niamh Crean in our Performing Arts department. Niamh recently completed her A-levels achieving A (Drama), B (Psychology) & B (English Literature). Over the course of her time at AKS she was extremely dedicated to the school’s co-curricular life having performed in numerous concerts and many musicals over the span of 5 years. Her most notable roles include The Killer Queen from the 2019 production of We Will Rock You and Morticia from the 2020 production of The Addams Family. In her role at AKS, Niamh works with the Performing arts department as well as working with the Marketing and Alumni office.
The Guardians of Drama decided to interview Niamh to learn more about her school experiences and her role within the Drama Department.
What is your new role at AKS?
I actually work within two different departments. I work in the Marketing department, working closely with Sarah Shepherd. We’ve recently been working on a series of videos interviewing alumni from our three founding schools, Arnold, King Edward and Queen Marys. It’s also been great to learn all about what the school does to keep its heritage alive. I also work within the Performing Arts department, which has always been like a second home to me. Here I working as an assistant director for the different co-curricular Drama projects as well as supporting curricular drama in any way I can.
What was it like transitioning from pupil to member of Staff?
The transition between the two has been relatively easy. Once settled in, I felt right at home here – which is no surprise. Fortunately, whilst at school I had an incredible working relationship with the staff. Despite having to no longer address colleagues as ‘Sir’ or ‘Miss’ it felt no different.
I think my relationship with the students remains particularly positive and its great that I am able to keep in contact with younger pupils through the different exciting projects I am working on – I can’t wait to share these with the rest of the school.
You’ve played many different roles when performing at AKS, what has been your favourite?
It definitely has to be Morticia Addams. Since I joined AKS I was determined to be the female lead in a production, and I was thrilled to experience that in my final year. I’ve been lucky enough to play a number of roles including a chorus member in ‘Sweeney Todd’ (Year 8) Louis in ‘Bugsy Malone’ (Year 9), Martha in ‘High School Musical’ (Year 11) and Killer Queen in ‘We Will Rock You’ (Year 12). However, I felt most myself when playing Morticia as a powerful female who is quick whipped, I felt I could resonate with her, whether that’s a good thing or not I’m unsure!
What is the best thing about being so heavily involved in co-curricular activities?
I always loved being able to collaborate with other year groups. During all the different productions I was able to work with older pupils who I looked up to and who inspired me.
I really hope that I was able to be this role model for the younger pupils I worked with in We Will Rock You and The Addams Family. I also love the family you become a part of when pupils come together to create a performance. Everyone looks after each other and supports each other to do their best. There have been so many happy memories that I’ll cherish forever – it really is a Drama Family.
When did you discover your passion for Drama? Or were you just born with to act?
Surprisingly, I was not always as passionate about drama as I am today. I often recall non-stop singing around the house and putting on shows for my parents in the living room however it wasn’t until I joined AKS and watched the production of ‘Into The Woods’ that I realised that it was something I could see myself pursuing. It was from then on that I launched myself into every club and extracurricular activity that involved performing whether that be music or drama. I spent the next 7 years spending a large proportion of time rehearsing and performing both during and after school. I was often asked how I spent so many hours after school rehearsing and many of my friends wondered how I “didn’t get fed up of it” however this wasn’t a chore to me, this was something I loved doing. I found myself excited to stay after school and come in at the weekend to spend time rehearsing. Over time my passion for drama grew stronger and stronger. I went on to take both GCSE and A-level drama.
Here’s a question that many GCSE drama students would love to know your answer to. What would be your advice for someone looking at studying Drama in further education and possibly working within the industry?
My advice would simply be ‘Go for It’. You truly never know what may come of something unless you try. You will undoubtedly be faced with many setbacks and you must be able to accept the word ‘No’ – this is a concept I struggled with for some time. However hard work and determination really does pay off. We all start somewhere, it does not matter whether you are a chorus member or a lead role, you are just as important to making that show a success. If it is something you are passionate about and love doing, there is nothing to be afraid of. As Miss Worthington taught me “There is no such thing as small parts, only small actors”.”
Whilst working here what are some of your ideas for the Drama department?
It is fair to say I have joined the school at the most peculiar time. Yet despite the many restrictions now in place that do inhibit a variety of activities of which we are all used to, I am excited as I know this department is incredibly skilled in raising to a challenge. I am thrilled to be working alongside Miss Worthington as creatively I think we compliment each other very well and know we will push the department and showcase its true potential. Currently we are creating a handful of wonderful co-curricular opportunities that I thoroughly encourage pupils from across the years to throw themselves into. As live performances currently are trickier, I’m very excited how the department is adapting and utilising film and acting for screen.
As we are currently in very strange times things can seem “uncertain” however what I know for certain is, the Corona Virus can’t kill our creativity, and now more than ever the arts are so important.
Niamh is true role model and we are all very excited to see what the future holds for Niamh. We can’t wait to start collaborating more with her in her new position at AKS.