A former Middlesbrough College student is looking to hit the heights as she progresses her daredevil career as a stuntwoman.
Erin Jackson, from Acklam in Middlesbrough, studied Musical Theatre at Middlesbrough College on a BTEC Level 3 course before doing a Production Arts course at the college.
The 23-year-old credits the confidence which the courses gave her for her subsequent success in the stunt world.
Erin has already done stunt work in a series of TV productions, in an immersive theatre experience and in motion capture work for video games.
She is now working towards getting a place on the British Stunt Register, which could lead to a whole raft of opportunities in the film and TV sector.
Erin recalled: “In secondary school, I was always a bit shy and would keep myself to myself.
“When I went to Middlesbrough College, I made friends with a lot of other people on the course, which gave me a real boost to my confidence and brought me out of myself a lot more.
“The course also prepared me well for progression towards auditions for drama school.
“I was mainly interested in the acting side of things on the Musical Theatre course – I was okay at the singing and dancing aspects but I stuck to acting in the end.”
After finishing the Musical Theatre course, Erin auditioned for drama schools and was given a number of offers but ended up turning them down.
She explained: “I did a lot of gymnastics throughout my childhood, my grandma was head coach at my gymnastics club growing up and I always enjoyed it so I had wondered about stunt work.
“I saw a course that combined acting with stage combat which brought my interests in acting and stunt work together so I decided to go for that.”
The BA degree in Acting & Stage Combat at East 15 Acting School is unique to the UK and the world, providing a professional, vocational training in stage combat and performance.
Erin began the three-year course in 2019 and by her third year, she was already doing professional stunt work.
“I was quite lucky in that I started doing stunt work for a TV company before I graduated,” she said.
“The main thing that I do now is work in motion capture technology for video games – I’m doing work for a major triple-A video game which is due to come out shortly, although I can’t reveal any details about it yet.”
Erin is now training towards getting a place on the British Stunt Register, the elite level for stunt workers from which stunt people are drawn for major Hollywood and big budget film and TV productions.
To make it on to the Register, stunt workers need to reach a certified high level of performance and competency in at least six different disciplines including the likes of scuba diving, kick boxing and gymnastics.
Erin said: “It’s pretty extreme and you need to work really hard to get there – my training regime is an absolute nightmare!
“I’m doing kick boxing twice a week, gymnastics twice a week, I’m studying for my Divemaster qualification in scuba diving – it’s pretty hectic!”
While the stunt profession is still fairly male-dominated, Erin said that is starting to change.
“There are a lot of stuntwomen that I know and the big action movies are starting to have more roles which require stuntwomen.”
As for any other Middlesbrough College students who may be thinking of following in Erin’s footsteps, she said: “Go for it!”
Beverley Williamson, Associate Director of Visual and Performing Artsw at Middlesbrough College, said: “It is fantastic to see how well Erin is doing in a career which is so competitive and so tough.
“As well as giving our students valuable qualifications in the Performing Arts and Production, our courses also aim to instil confidence in their abilities to follow their chosen career path.”
Middlesbrough College has over 100 students enrolled on a Performing Arts or Production Arts course.
The College offers a variety of Level 2 and Level 3 courses covering everything from Performing Arts to Stage Management and Operations.
It is also set to offer a T-level in Events and Venues Technician for Stage Management (Media, Broadcast and Production) from September 2024.