Tom White - Musical Theatre

Tom in a stripy shirt, smiling, leaning across a banister in White Swan Building

Tom's story

Musical Theatre

Before studying musical theatre at Portsmouth I was on a tourism and business course at another University. It wasn’t exactly my dream of walking the stage, but I’d followed my Mum’s advice of doing something practical to fall back on. I tried to love it, but deep down I knew it wasn’t really for me.

I’d always been that kid at school who has ’too much energy for class’. The only place I ever truly felt comfortable was in the dance studio or the theatre. It’s not an overstatement to say I live and breathe performing arts. To not be following that dream was making me pretty miserable.

From the very first day here it was apparent that I’d made the right decision.

Tom White

Alumnum, Musical Theatre

A portrait of Tom White, alumnum of Musical Theatre

That was until, of all people, one of my old lecturers told me ‘if you focus too much on plan B then soon it’ll become plan A’. It was the nudge that I needed and within weeks I was applying for a place at Portsmouth. While it was quite the leap of faith, from the very first day here it was apparent that I’d made the right decision.

With my dream no longer on hold I was able to fully be me. Turns out that takes a little bit of plate spinning at the University of Portsmouth as there are so many things to be a part of here. In my first year I joined the music society and after a number of performances and trips to theatre shows I eventually became its President. Alongside that I sang in a barbershop group, I started a theatre company that put on local shows and even had the opportunity to perform in London for the Arts Council.

Tom's feet on a theatre stage, in tap dancing shoes

Portsmouth helped me gain an internship with the director of the Theatre Royal.

Tom White

Alumnum, Musical Theatre

Making those kinds of contacts and – hopefully – leaving an impression on people who could be important to your career is invaluable. With that in mind Portsmouth helped me gain an internship with the director of the Theatre Royal. I couldn’t believe it! The doors had been well and truly swung open.

Now I’m leaving to start a Master's at an acting school after the most incredible few years of my life. Not only have my prospects improved a thousand times, so has my quality of life. Whatever I go on to do in the future and whomever I go on to be, it will all have started here.