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Student stories

City Lit inspires passions and realises ambitions. Each year students studying here change careers, embark on a new challenge, or learn something new. They are taught by specialist tutors - practicing writers, artists, performers, and practitioners. Read about our students here...

Belinda WavaBelinda Wava

Performing Arts

Belinda Wava

The one-year Acting Diploma (Level 3) meant that Belinda could fuel her passion for acting alongside her full-time job. The professional qualification has assisted Belinda in the audition process and the contacts she made on the course helped her land her first short film and sign with an agent.

Akin OmobitanAkin Omobitan


Akin Omobitan

When Akin came to City Lit, he was looking for a career change-up. He thrived on the Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling: integrative pathway, absorbing and channelling the energy of his tutors and peers around him. Since gaining his qualification, Akin has gone on to set up his own private counselling practice. 

Sandra Bee Sandra Bee

Visual Arts

Esme Fenwick

Esme wanted to test the water before making the leap to Fine Art from another degree; the City Lit Pre-Foundation course and Foundation Art and Design Diploma helped her do just that. Treated as an artist from the get-go, her passions were nurtured by tutors, helping her to create her portfolio and giving her much-needed confidence in her ability.

Charmaine WatkissCharmaine Watkiss

Visual Arts

Charmaine Watkiss

As a City Lit alum, completing the Foundation Diploma in Art & Design in 2015, we were delighted to speak with Charmaine to find out more about her time with us and how it has influenced her career as an artist. 

Jo Smith-SutherlandJo Smith-Sutherland

Performing Arts

Jo Smith-Sutherland

At the heart of the entertainment industry lies the power to inspire, challenge norms, and promote inclusivity. We caught up with our brilliant alumni Jo Smith-Sutherland, a talented trans actor based in the UK. 

Sandra Bee Sandra Bee

Creative Writing 

Sandra Bee

Sandra’s life-long passion for creativity and learning led her to City Lit in 2017 where she completed her first course in early years children's writing and won a competition to have her work ‘New Girl’ published in City Lit’s Between the Lines. 

Victoria SelmanVictoria Selman

Creative Writing

Victoria Selman

Completing her studies at City Lit was the first step towards Victoria meeting her goal of becoming a published writer, seeing her follow her heart and demonstrate that it really is never too late to carve out a new path in life. 

James DaviesJames Davies

Speech Therapy

James Davies

My time at City Lit was life-changing. I was advised by a speech therapist in the first session with her to enrol on the stammering course, and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Kirsty YeungKirsty Yeung


Kirsty Yeung

What I enjoy most about coming to City Lit? The people! It is so great to be around like-minded people – we are all there because we want to be there and are working towards a common goal.

Samuel Burr - Creative WritingSamuel Burr - Creative Writing

Creative Writing

Samuel Burr

I enrolled on the part-time Writing Fiction course in 2019 which was the perfect introduction to novel writing. I was a freelance TV producer at the time, so what I loved was being able to fit in my studies around my full-time job.

Eveline BoisonEveline Boison

Acting means everything to me. I am now at a stage where my family commitments are beginning to change and I feel ready and hope to build a positive acting career. I am always looking for new courses to help me develop my acting skills as well as my professionalism and City Lit has helped with that. 

Aiden ChampionAiden Champion

As an artist I think City Lit is a very safe place. But importantly it’s also a place that really pushes you.  The facilities are great, the staff are incredible; all the city lit drama department are incredibly supportive. 

Sovel CunninghamSovel Cunningham

Creative Writing

Wendy Allen

After being made redundant, Wendy discovered her passion for poetry after taking up courses at City Lit. She is now studying for an MA in Creative Writing at Oxford Brookes University.

Angela Tullock in art studioAngela Tullock in art studio

Visual arts

Angela Tulloch

Bursary recipient Angela Tulloch said; 'City Lit has been and still is a life saver, it is a powerful positive transformation place. This opportunity has allowed my soul to sing because I am actually doing what makes me free and happy'. 

Lucille Lewin looking through a magnifying glassLucille Lewin looking through a magnifying glass


Lucille Lewin

Lucille Lewin discovered her passion for ceramics on the City Lit Diploma course following her hugely successful career in fashion and retailing (selling the Whistles business in 2002).

Sovel CunninghamSovel Cunningham

Creative Writing

Pieter Dewulf

Pieter DeWulf attended several creative writing courses at City Lit. In 2021, he was the winner of the Evening Standard Stories Competition. 

Ray Plassard playing the fluteRay Plassard playing the flute

Hearing that the City Lit celebrates its centenary in 2019 put me in mind that I have been attending classes there on and off for over 50 years, half of its existence! Mainly in the music department.'




Lipreading classes saved my life! It gave me the confidence to join in social settings again and also massively helped rebuild my relationships with my family and get back to work.

Malorie Blackman by the River Thames, LondonMalorie Blackman by the River Thames, London

Creative Writing

Malorie Blackman

Malorie Blackman OBE has a long connection with City Lit as a former student attending diverse courses with us since the late 1980s. Having written over fifty books, Malorie is acknowledged as one of today’s most imaginative and convincing writers for young readers. 

Ilyaas Caders with his wifeIlyaas Caders with his wife

Deaf Education

Ilyaas Cader

llyaas travelled from Sri Lanka, surviving an incredible journey across Europe, to join his brother in London. He went on to study English at City Lit and now works as a Senior Deaf Children’s Mental Health Worker.

Sovel CunninghamSovel Cunningham

Creative Writing

Sovel Cunningham

A career with Royal Mail and in Human resources equipped Sovel with great interpersonal skills. Mastering her natural poetic voice during several writing and speech courses at City Lit, she has recently signed a publishing deal with 'That Guy's House. 

Penelope Maynard performing on stage at City Lit Penelope Maynard performing on stage at City Lit

Discover how City Lit courses provide inspiration and substance in Penelope’s retirement, and her general view of City Lit after being a student here for a number of years. Having taken over 15 courses, City Lit plays an enormous role in her daily life. 

The Wilson familyThe Wilson family


Lucy and Dave Wilson 

Lucy and Dave Wilson met at a Photography taster course at the Visual Arts Open Day, by the end of the day they had arranged a date, went on to marry and start a family with the arrival of baby Gene. 

Jack O'Neill massaging in studioJack O'Neill massaging in studio

Massage Therapy

Jack O'Neill 

Jack decided to take early retirement and started looking for massage therapy courses in London after deciding the quiet life wasn't for him...Jack is now a fully qualified massage therapist and a professional member of the CThA, and the owner of Holmas Massage.