Nick Sorensen

Country: United Kingdom
Sector: Other Industries
Job title: Writer and Musician
Subject of study: English and Drama
Year of graduation: 1977
Type/Level of study: Undergraduate

Current Employer/Organisation Name


What have you been doing since leaving Exeter, and what are you doing now?

On graduating from Exeter in 1977 I spent a year working with Medium Fair, a community theatre company. I was involved in theatre-in education projects performing in schools, community centres and youth clubs. Following that I completed a PGCE in secondary drama at Goldsmiths and my first post was as a drama and music teacher. I spent 25 years working in secondary schools, becoming a headteacher of a large comprehensive school in Wiltshire in 1997. I left headship in 2003 to start a consultancy company ‘The Improvising School’, offering workshops and professional development courses to musicians, teachers and leaders. In 2008 I was appointed as a Senior Lecturer in School Leadership and in 2011 I became Assistant Dean and Associate Professor in the School of Education. I left Bath Spa in 2019 and now work independently as a writer, musician and researcher. My particular interests are concerned with improvisation, in music, pedagogy and leadership. I am currently participating in a research project that is investigating the significance of silence in musical performance. I am a Visiting Research Fellow at Bath Spa University and a member of the peer review panel of the AHRC.

Why did you choose this career? And what do you enjoy most about your work?

My career has revolved around the things that I am passionate about: drama and theatre, music and education. I love working with and alongside other people and what I most enjoyed about working in schools was that every day contained its own surprises. As a teacher, leader and performer I have been committed to the idea of supporting and enabling ordinary people to achieve extraordinary things.

Please tell us if you were a member of any societies, groups or sports clubs?

I was a member of the Jazz and Blues Society and the Film Society and saw a lot of theatre and dance at the Northcott and other venues in Exeter.

What did you enjoy most about your programme and what was the biggest highlight?

I valued the practical nature of the drama course and the amount of time that was spent acting and engaging with a broad range of styles and genres. The course developed in an organic way – each project was designed to meet the needs of that particular year group. All of the tutors brought different perspectives to the course: John Rudlin, Les Read, Nick Sales, Peter Thompson and Dorinda Hulton all had an influence on me. It is impossible to choose the biggest highlight. Each year, each project contained memorable moments. The English courses I followed complemented the Drama course – we studied lots of theatre texts and I particularly enjoyed the course on 20th century literature.

What did you enjoy most about studying here?

I enjoyed and valued the collaborative approach to learning that was intrinsic to the Drama course. And of course it was great to live and study in the beautiful environment of the campus, the town and the surrounding countryside. Some of the friendships I made as a student have continued throughout my life.

Why did you choose to study at Exeter?

I discovered that I could study Drama alongside English. That was the clincher for me.

What skills and experiences have been most useful for your career?

The five most important skills that I gained from my time at Exeter are:

1) having the ability to collaborate and work as a member of a team.

2) having the confidence to trust in my own creativity.

3) having the practical and imaginative skills to go out and make things happen.

4) having the ability to communicate ideas clearly and with passion.

5) being able to spot great opportunities when they arise and make the most of them.

What advice would you give to a current student who wishes to pursue your career?

Follow your heart and seek out the people and places that will value you as a person, your skills and talent and support your development.

What are your plans for the future?

To continue to develop as a writer and musician and to seek out situations that will stimulate my curiosity.


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