Sara Durkin

Creative Director, Middlesbrough

Sector: Performing Arts

Sara Durkin moved to London at a young age to perform in the West End. After falling pregnant with her first child, she moved home and choregraphed a Christmas show for Stockton Riverside College, where she still works today.

Where do you call home? 

Middlesbrough, Teesside. 

Tell us about your role?  

Creative director of performing and production arts at Stockton Riverside College. 

How did you get to where you are today? 

I was a performing arts student at Stockton and Billingham Technical College. I was taught by fabulously motivating teachers who encouraged me to go and study in London. I gained a scholarship at London Studio Centre and went on to perform in musical theatre and as a singer in the West End, Europe and UK tours. When I was pregnant with my first child, I was invited in to choreograph a Christmas show at Stockton Riverside and the rest is history! Let’s just say I got the teaching bug. 

What struggles or obstacles did you face along the way? 

The performing arts industry is tough. There is a lot of rejection to deal with. You need a very thick skin. I found it hard moving to London at such a young age and it took me a while to settle there. 

And then, when I fell into teaching, I had to go back to academic studying for my training, that was another big adjustment that I initially found challenging. 

Describe the moment you first got a feel for success? 

Gaining a place at London Studio Centre was a big moment but being offered my first job in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Starlight Express at 20 was pretty special for me and my mam and dad, who I wanted to make proud.  

My work as a teacher has also given me such a sense of satisfaction. I love seeing kids from Teesside go off and excel in the industry, knowing I’ve helped play a part in it. 

Do you have any advice for aspiring young females? 

Believe in yourself. Don’t let anyone put you off your dreams. Be prepared to work very hard. Be passionate and love what you do. 

What advice would you give to your younger self?  

To not put pressure on myself. To really think big decisions through carefully before rushing into things. To avoid self-doubt! 

What three words inspire you and encourage a positive path?  

Courage, perseverance, love. 

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