Former Student makes costumes for Doctor Who

Former student Samuel Thompson has since moved to South London where he has graduated from a Costume Interpretation degree at UAL Wimbledon with First class honours. Sam is now working as a freelancer with a company that makes costumes for various theatre, film and TV shows like Doctor Who and Joseph and the Technicoloured Dream coat. Find out more about Sam:

"I came to the Henley college in 2012, initially studying Chemistry, Biology, History and Geography. I quickly discovered that some subjects I had done well in at GCSE level were not what I was passionate about, so in my second year I dropped Chemistry and Biology and took up Geology and Textiles.

I had not studied Art at GCSE, as at the time I had not wanted to be dictated the kind of art I could produce. I presented some of the artwork I was doing outside of college to the head of year and upon starting, Textiles A Level quickly became my favourite subject and subsequently I came away with 4 A-Levels in 3 years with an A in Textiles."

"My first impressions of The Henley College was that the split campus and number of students felt very big compared to secondary school. There were students about all the time and so much more freedom. I really got the feeling that most people were there because they wanted to be. My sister had been at Henley 2 years before me and I had heard positive feedback from her about what it was like. I was also very keen to move away from secondary school and start somewhere anew."


"I have a lot of good memories of the fantastic tutors I had while at Henley, which really made it a great experience for me. Probably one of my best memories is from the workshops and trips that Claire Elmes organised for our Textiles class. I always looked forward to our lessons where we would often learn something entirely new- some skills I have expanded and others it was a chance to do something completely different-- like screen painting or batik. I remember spending many relaxing hours working in the studio, just having the time and facilities to get some creative exercise!"

"Claire was always open to let us experiment and introduce us to something new. On one trip we went to the Pitt Rivers and Ashmoleon museum in Oxford. Even in my work today I think these trips brought out interests I didn't know I had and I inspired by so many things there, and by Claire herself. My favourite was a special exhibition we went to on 18th century embroidery, which has always stayed in my mind as an amazing piece of historical textiles. I have since created historical costumes and hope to take this further in my career. "

"I had always been interested in the creation of characters in movies and TV shows, there was a time when I was very young where I had said my dream job was the make the monsters for Doctor Who. I never thought this dream was realistic so I looked at going into something more practical. Turns out my first job out of University was working on the brand new season of Doctor who. Its quite surreal."

"In the future I hope to continue on in the costume industry, working on as many films and shows as I can. I want to live a life full of experiences, hopefully travelling abroad for jobs and to never stop learning. Eventually I hope to pass these skills onto others and become a teacher myself."

"At first I chose subjects that were academic, though still interested me. When I was at college I was not aware that costume was a profession so I was interested in studying something with history or geography. It was the 2 years I spent doing Textiles which made me realise this was that I wanted to pursue and from there I discovered my ideal career in costume making."

"The Henley College helped start my journey towards independence. I began coming out of my shell and talking to people more. It was also the beginning of my journey to understanding what I want to do but I am still by no means finished learning about that. I also came away with 2 brilliant friends whom I am still close to. "

"The tutors at Henley are what made the experience for me. They helped me bring passion back into my learning and were understanding, supportive and always ready to listen when I was struggling with mental health. "

"My advice to young people considering their future is - Do not be scared thinking that the choices you make now about your subjects are final. Keep your options open. Work towards a goal but if things don't work out, don't be afraid to try something completely different until you find something that works for you- be it a job you love or one that pays for you to do the things you are passionate about. "