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Star of stage & screen surprises students

Published: 9th November 2021

Aspiring performing arts students from Cornwall College got an exciting glimpse behind the showbiz curtain with a surprise visit from celebrity Jonny Wilkes.

The star entertainer took a break from treading the boards to drop in on the students from the Creative & Digital Academy at Cornwall College’s St Austell campus.

The students wasted no time using the opportunity to showcase their creative work, with the dancers, musicians and actors each performing a piece for their special visitor in the College’s Keay Theatre.

“I’ve had a wonderful day at Cornwall College, speaking to the aspiring students. I got some incredible questions and hopefully I’ve met some stars of the future,” said Jonny.

Through a lively Q&A session, Jonny provided an important insight into the industry for the young performers, drawing on experiences from his own impressive career which includes presenting television show You’ve Been Framed, playing major roles in various West End musicals and co-founding charity event Soccer Aid with his close friend Robbie Williams.

Head of campus Kym O’Mara described the visit as “both a thrill and a fantastic opportunity.”

“We’re so grateful to Jonny for the care and attention he offered our students. Not only was he incredibly generous with his time but his willingness to offer advice freely was an invaluable experience for our aspiring performers,” Kym continued.

“His charisma certainly won everyone over on the day, we were all ecstatic to meet him.”

Throughout his career, Jonny Wilkes has had his own fair share of experience nurturing new performing arts talent in the UK. Alongside wife Nikki and their partner Suzanne Mole, he established the Wilkes Academy, which quickly has become one of the leading industry-focused training programs for the performing artist.

This innovative approach of fusing industry scenario and work placement is one that is reflected in the ethos of Cornwall College’s own Creative & Digital Academy.

17-year-old Chloe Hawken is in her second year of studying on the Altitude Dance Diploma at Cornwall College.

“I really enjoyed the workshop with Jonny Wilkes. I feel I’ve developed more knowledge of the performing arts, opportunities available to me and what it takes to be successful as an individual,” explained Chloe.

“It definitely enabled me to understand the importance in preparing for auditions and understanding the process and expectations going into the industry.

Fellow student dancer Kimmy Gregory agreed on the value of meeting a performer of Jonny’s level.

Kimmy said: “One thing I took away from the workshop that has stuck in my head was a quote from Jonny, who said: ‘hard work always outweighs lazy talent’. This is something I am carrying with me through my current training with Altitude Dance Company.”

For more information about studying at Cornwall College St Austell, book a place HERE on the upcoming open evening on Thursday 25th November 


# cornwall # staustell # acting # performingarts # dancers # music



16-19, Adult, Leisure and Professional, Arts & Media, Music & Performing Arts, Cornwall College St Austell, Cornwall College St Austell


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