TV, Film & Theatre Wig Specialist Andrew Whiteoak shares his expertise with Hair and Beauty students20th January 2015
Visits from experts in industry is a key feature of the learning experience on many of our courses. Our selection of Hair and Beauty courses are no different. They’ve recently been fortunate enough to receive a visit from Andrew Whiteoak, a TV, Film and Theatre Wig Specialist.
Calderdale College students were able to learn from Andrews’s expertise, which he has gained from an extensive 20 year career. He has worked on hundreds of productions including The Wizard of Oz, East is East, Little Shop of Horrors, The Witches and many more.
Andrew previously worked at The Birmingham Rep Theatre, among others, but is now working as freelancer. We managed to catch up with Andrew during his visit to the College, to find out more about how he’s achieved his success.
Do you think your education has helped you achieve where you are today?
Yes without a doubt. I wasn't very academic, but I was very good at English. I enjoyed storytelling and fantasy and I was very good at art, which was the grounding for my career.
What route did you take after school?
After school I went to the Bourneville School of Art and Design and studied fine art and sculpture. After that I took a year out and decided I wanted to make monsters and do blood, gore and all that stuff. So I went to college and trained to do make-up and some of that was training to do hairdressing and wigs. Predominately now most of my work is wig making.
What has been the most interesting project you've worked on?
Over the last 20 years there has been a lot of interesting projects. I worked on the Wizard of Oz a few years ago and that was brilliant. I also worked on the silver anniversary of The Rocky Horror Show and it was amazing. Even the smallest show is interesting in its own way.
Who’s the most famous person you've worked with?
I've worked with Gary Barlow. I’m working with Maureen Lipman at the moment. I've met some amazing people, there’s too many to count.
How would you describe your job in 3 words?
Creative, interesting and enjoyable.
Do you have a secret to your success?
I think it’s more about people. Skills are amazing and crucial, but a lot of my career so far has probably been built on the fact that I like to get on with everyone. I make sure that everyone, including myself does the best they can. That’s kind of the basis, it’s not really a secret.
Have you enjoyed your visit to Calderdale College?
They’re a really great bunch of students and are genuinely interested. They've been really good at asking relevant and intelligent questions. It’s been brilliant.
What words of wisdom would you give to students who want to work in this field?
Listen to people, absorb everything and don’t feel like you know everything because there’s always more to learn. When you feel like you need to give up, don’t. Keep going. Especially at the start of your career, the first 6 months is the crucial time, you’ll possibly hit rock bottom and you’ll need to pick yourself up and keep going. It’s not easy. It’s an over saturated industry and the people who survive will be the ones who keep going.
For further information on the courses available at Calderdale College, browse our online prospectus here or call 01422 399316