Build Blog

Q&A with acting and languages student Valerie Lucas

Story added 16th Mar 2018

Valerie Lucas


Valerie talks to us about the variety of courses she has studied at Build with a focus on drama and acting and featuring in Build's 'The Winter's Tale' last term.

Tell us a bit about yourself; your name and what you do (or have done) for a living?
I was born near Paris and moved to London 12 years ago after returning from New York where I lived for many years. Besides working as a supporting artist in film and television, I am also running a “Beauty & Wellness” business.

What courses have you studied or are studying? Why did you pick them?
Since 2009, I have studied many courses at Build and can call it my home: Spanish, German, Italian, Hindi, Creative Writing, TV Presenting, Singing, Screen Acting and currently Actor's Studio and Advanced Acting with Petina Hapgood and Voice Masterclass with Vernon Thompson.  I picked the last two because I am a returning student of Petina's and like her teaching style. As for Vernon, he has been recommended by a classmate.

How did you first hear about Build?
I saw adverts in the Tube.

What are your tutors and teaching like?
Petina (acting) is passionate about her craft, she is challenging and gets the best out of her students. 

Tell us about the dynamic of the course and your relationships with fellow students?
The other students seem committed about being serious actors and are inspiring.

Have you met any inspirational people here?
During my six weeks rehearsing and performing 'The Winter's Tale' at the John Lyon's Theatre last December, I have worked with 15 incredible actors, and particularly Emma Wright Wilkinson and Alexander Smith who have particularly inspired me because of their talent, professionalism and generosity when helping the least experienced of us.

Does coming to Build have a positive impact on your mental or physical wellbeing?
It certainly does because it is a very safe and comfortable to study in and I feel more confident, having gained new skills. 

If relevant, how has your course(s) helped you reach your career goals?
Being an actor is an ongoing process and I feel that I'll never stop learning but I can say that all the skills that I have gained have given me more confidence and make me more employable.

What’s the single best thing about the course(s)?
Doing warm-ups and exercises which help do the work and get rid of any inhibitions whilst performing in public.

Did you have any reservations about moving into acting/making this step?
I studied Performing Arts for 8 years in New York at HB Studio with legendary actress Uta Hagen in the past, but life got in the way and almost 3 years ago, when I started working in Film & Television, I decided to return to what I loved the most and, since I felt rusty, went back to a beginner's course at Build and worked my way up to an Advanced Level.

What’s the thing that’s taken you by the most surprise?
I can actually DO this and am tremendously enjoying the process.

What’s your biggest practical acting tip for someone thinking of signing up?
If you are serious about becoming an actor, this is the best course to take you where you want to be.

What’s your dream role?
At this point, I would love to work on "Holby City" as a regular, for a while. For having worked quite a few times with the cast and crew, I have enjoyed that family atmosphere and feel that I could learn whilst doing in such a safe environment.

Who were your biggest acting influences prior to signing up to a course?
Meryl Streep is the reason that I decided to be an actress. She is a chameleon performer who has the unique talent of making the audience forget her name whenever she embodies any character.

Is there any particular film/production/venue that you aspire/aspired to appear in?
“Holby City” or “EastEnders” to start. I have worked on both and liked their way of working. It would be a great stepping stone to more major roles in Film & Television. I also want to do more Theatre.

If you could act alongside one actor living or dead who would it be?
Meryl Streep, without any doubt; and legendary French actress Catherine Deneuve; Colin Firth; I would also love to work with directors Woody Allen, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas (and not just because of our last name!), Clint Eastwood, Claude Lelouch, Xavier Dolan and Ron Howard.

What do you think makes a great actor?
Their ability to put on someone else's "suit", live their life and make you forget who they are. As if they were in your living room and you would witness their life before your eyes and BELIEVE that it is who they are.


Drama and acting courses in London at Build

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