FP Joanna Vanderham inspires Drama pupils

Drama pupils at the High School of Dundee have received inspiration from a star of the stage and screen who trod the same boards they now tread.

FP Joanna Vanderham inspires Drama pupils

On Friday, former pupil Joanna Vanderham returned to the school to meet Senior Years pupils to share some words of wisdom with them.

The actress, who has starred in high profile TV shows and Hollywood films (including What Maisie Knew, The Paradise, Dancing on the Edge, The Go-Between, Warrior, The Control Room, and One of Us) held a Q&A session with the pupils, before taking them through some performance techniques.

She said, “It’s so nice to be back and such a treat to get to meet the pupils and teachers.

“The pupils asked some really interesting questions, and I just wanted them to know that if they want to act, or write or produce, they don’t need to change anything to be able to do that. They just have to be themselves.”

Joanna, who has also performed in a variety of stage productions, including the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Othello, was especially pleased to be reunited with the School’s Head of Drama, Lindsay Drummond, who she says had a major influence on her drama career.

She said, “For Drama I had Mrs Drummond and Mr Cowieson. They gave me the confidence to believe I could get into Drama School and they really nurtured my drama skills.

“Lindsay’s dedication to theatre was and is contagious. Her passion for going to see shows and productions is something that really rubbed off on me and which I still share to this day.

“It’s amazing how just seeing these productions or shows or performances can have a real impact on your own life.”

Joanna has just finished filming a second series of Crime by Irvine Welsh, with the actor Dougray Scott, and you can watch season 1 now on ITVX.

Lindsay Drummond said, “This was the first time since Jo left that she’d been able to come back so we were delighted that she took time out of her busy schedule to visit us and talk about her acting career so far.

“Meeting former pupils like Joanna can prove both inspirational and aspirational to our pupils. They have since commented on how much they enjoyed listening to her talk about how she approached her roles, the choices she made as a woman in a challenging industry and the importance of continued learning throughout an incredibly successful career so far.

“I remember a forthright and independent girl who was clearly talented. Academically a high achiever, Jo could have gone into any sphere of work, instead she chose to follow her dream which, as she reminded us, is so important for young people who are just starting out in life.”