Do you ever wonder what our graduates get up to? Drama alumni from the University of Manchester have gone on to have a variety of careers; our series of alumni profiles shows just a few of the directions a drama degree can take you in. All our featured alumni graduated in the last ten years – here Lucy Sparks talks about how her drama degree has led to a career in social work.
BA Drama, 2013
I am a Family Placement social worker with a voluntary adoption agency. My work mainly involves recruiting, assessing and supporting people who wish to adopt. It’s about finding permanent homes for children who are often labelled difficult to place – for example older children or children that need to be adopted as part of a sibling group. We also work closely with other teams within the organisation who support birth families where children have been adopted, as well as supporting adopted children themselves, and adults hoping to trace birth relatives after losing contact due to adoption.
Most of all I enjoy building relationships with people – particularly children. I love completing direct work, which is often around life stories, helping the child or young person to make sense of their own life.
When I tell people about my drama background, they are generally surprised that I have ended up in social work – but for me it was a very natural progression and I see a clear link between the two disciplines. The Drama course at the University of Manchester is about broadening your mind and understanding alternative ideas and standpoints; it pushes you to evaluate your values and ethics; it instills a sense of confidence and a great ability to communicate both personally and professionally. All these things are vital to social work practice and were invaluable learning curves for me.
More practically, the Theatre in Prison project course in my third year, alongside my voluntary work with Student Action and Reach Out, sparked my desire to work with people, particularly those who are vulnerable or disenfranchised.