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Gabrielle Knight

Job: theatre administrator

Born: 1980. Attended: Alton college, Hampshire, 1996-1998

Studied: A-level English literature, theatre studies and modern history After two years at Alton college, Gabrielle studied for a degree in performance management at Bretton Hall, now part of Leeds university. She then returned to Hampshire as administrator at The Phoenix, a theatre and arts centre in Bordon, with the added responsibility of co-ordinating learning in visual and performing arts for adults with learning disabilities. She also oversees marketing.

"College taught me to be more resilient and helped me to find something I really love as a career.

You were expected to carry out independent study. I think the ethos of treating us as adults made us be more responsible. It was definitely a culture shock after the secure world that is school, where there is always someone to stop you making huge mistakes.

My favourite teacher was Ed Tomlin, who taught theatre studies and was my tutor. It wasn't just plays, playwrights and theatre practitioners, such as Stanislavski, we learnt about, but the social and historical contexts of them and about life in general. It was learning by osmosis, in that you may not think you had learned much, but you came out of his lessons and seemed to have soaked up the information.

Ed was like a gentle giant. He is over 6ft tall, quietly spoken and caring and passionate about what he does and who he works with. He is also one of the most laid back people I have met, and was more than happy to have students come up to his office so you talk about life, the universe and everything.

It was also he who helped me convince my dad that my career choice and study path were not completely crazy, but would develop transferable skills."

Gabrielle Knight was talking to Shekhar Bhatia

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