In conversation with aspiring stand-up comedian Hayley Ashton
22 June 2023
Hayley Ashton will graduate this summer from Falmouth University’s Acting BA(Hons) degree. Here, the aspiring stand-up comedian reflects on their time at Falmouth University and how the course has helped them to hone their craft and find their niche.
Why did you choose to study Acting at Falmouth University?
I actually did my first year of university in London and very quickly learnt that living in London is really not for me. I looked at Falmouth as an option that was a bit closer to home, a lot closer to the beach, and also had (in my opinion, no offence to the other uni) a much better Acting course. From the first interaction I had with Falmouth, emailing about transferring and whatnot, it just seemed so lovely and friendly!
How would you describe the environment and atmosphere within Falmouth’s Academy of Music & Theatre Arts (AMATA)?
It’s honestly gorgeous. There’s always something going on for people to get involved with, and everyone is so open and welcoming. There’s always a lively bubbly atmosphere within AMATA – it's full of people prepping for all sorts of performances but there’s also lots of open green spaces (and squirrels) so it’s the best of both worlds really.
I genuinely don’t think I could recommend anything more. The course is incredible and has taught me things I never thought I’d know. If I could do the entire course again, I honestly would.
How has the course supported your creative development and career prospects?
Honestly couldn’t ask for better lecturers. As an actor, each module has pushed me massively to develop and expand my comfort zone, but I was always supported and guided through the tough parts. I sent many a creative crisis email to many a lecturer and they all always responded with kindness and sound advice. The course has also allowed me to explore other performance avenues and I’m now pursuing stand-up comedy which is something I hadn’t really considered before my degree.
What have you enjoyed most about your time living in Cornwall/Falmouth as a student?
The beach, and the people, and how much the people love the beach. It is just such a beautiful place to live and with everyone you talk to you can feel how much they love living here.
What will you miss the most when you graduate?
Tracy who runs AMATA cafe. I miss her already.
What has been your main focus or specialism throughout your studies?
Particularly after our third-year solo show module, my specialism has very much become comedy. I’ve always been drawn to comedic acting performances but during my third year I got to explore stand-up comedy as a possibility, and it is now a big part of what I want to pursue in the future.
It’s difficult to plan in this industry because you never know what might happen, but I know whatever I do after uni, I’ll be bloody brilliant.
Who are your icons or influences in the industry and why?
There are so many people in the industry that influence and inspire me, but my icon has always been Victoria Wood. I think her work is just so beautiful and the absolutely craftsmanship and dedication and intelligence she had was just insane.
What are your plans and aspirations after graduating?
Bloody scary question that is. My immediate post-university plan is to just have a bit of a breather, let myself rest and enjoy the sunshine for a bit. After that I’m hoping to develop my comedy more with writing and performing stand up and just taking any opportunities that I find really. It’s difficult to plan in this industry because you never know what might happen, but I know whatever I do I’ll be bloody brilliant.
What would you say to someone who’s thinking about joining the Acting course at Falmouth?
Oh definitely do it! I genuinely don’t think I could recommend anything more. The course is incredible and has taught me things I never thought I’d know. The lectures are beyond lovely and so, so supportive. Plus, Cornwall is just gorgeous. If I could do the entire course again I honestly would.
To keep tabs on Hayley's journey after graduation, follow their professional Instagram account @haleyroseashton