Tom Nicholas

What are you doing now?

I’m the Artistic Director of New Model Theatre, a touring theatre company based in Plymouth. We split our time between touring work nationally and creating opportunities for exciting theatre events to happen in Plymouth. We’re currently running a pop-up theatre venue in the Bakery at the Royal William Yard called Outpost, we’re supporting local theatre companies to make work whilst also bringing in some more road hardened touring shows from further afield.

What route did you take up to this point?

Whilst at college, I was also working for Theatre Royal Plymouth running workshops with their Young Company. This led to some Assistant Directing work and ultimately propelled me towards writing and directing plays. I’ve been lucky enough to work with some really inspirational people who have been willing to share skills and experience with me along the way.

What have you learnt most about yourself?

When working for yourself it can be difficult to get a decent work/life balance. I’m not quite there yet but am slowly beginning to work out when I absolutely need to stay up until 3am to get something done and when it can wait until the morning.

What words of wisdom would you give to a student joining DHSB in Year 7?

Being at a grammar school will mean you’ll spend much of your time with people similar to yourself. In an academic sense this may be wholly positive and help push you to achieve. Take care to compliment this when outside of school. Most of all, find yourself strong female role models perhaps in your teachers but also in your friends, the television you watch and the music you listen to.

And for a Sixth Former leaving DHSB?

With the right attitude and a bit of determination, climbing to the top of your chosen sector isn’t difficult, what’s difficult is to build a ladder up behind you. Ask for help, lots, but thank everyone who gives you a hand and make sure you pay that forward when someone, someday asks you for help.

Any fond memories of school you’d like to share?

Dodgeball! The summer after the film Dodgeball came out, one of the PE teachers started a Dodgeball league. I wasn’t the sportiest of students but somehow I ended up in a team. We were awful. Every week we’d lose and then the next week find that more people would be cheering for us – as though the perseverance of turning up to be beaten once again was achievement enough. Somewhere near the end of the league we won a match. We still lost the league but we felt like heroes…

Do you have a message for any of your teachers?

Mr Riggs once did a lesson on the Battle of Freedom Fields with us which I think I paid little attention to. I ended up writing a play about it though so it obviously stuck with me! Thanks!