From a soap character, to the voice of an African train in a new animated movie, there's a wealth of talent coming out of the BA (Hons) Acting course at Arts University Bournemouth.

It may only have been running for 14 years - a relative newcomer compared to its drama school competitors - but its place as part of a university dedicated to the creative industries means its students are in something of a unique position.

"It's an arts community," explains course leader Katharine Piercey. "Our students collaborate with so many different courses. Acting is the frontline of it, but all of our shows are collaborations. We have a Costume and Performance Design course here, and Make-Up, for Media and Performance so our costumes students will design costumes and sets and will work alongside the make up students - it could be a period play, or prosthetics.

"They work with film and animation, models and photography. They're building these communities and, when they graduate, they're going to be working together in the future.

"I think that's what's really special about AUB."

The course trains students to be professional actors and "actor creators", with graduates going on to work in TV, theatre and film. But those taking the course also learn skills around creating their own wok and devising, with many creating their own theatre companies and taking work to fringe festivals.

"We had one company that won awards," says Katharine. "National Theatre has a studio which it offers for research and development for emerging companies. They gave them a week and invited people in from the industry so that they got a West End run.

"On the other side, we've got graduates that have been Ben Mitchell in Eastenders; in the Lion King; the voice of Nia in the new Thomas the Tank Engine film that's out in the summer - the first African train."

The course has been taking work out to external venues for around eight years, and Katharine is thrilled they are slowly building a following of people who are aware of their work.

It's latest season was a celebration of the 200th anniversary of Frankenstein, featuring a programme of theatrical performances to mark and re-imagine the iconic novel, with productions taking place at poignant Bournemouth locations connected to the Shelley family.

Work included Mary Shelley - a play exploring the author's scandalous elopement with Percy Bysshe Shelley aged just 16; and Blood and Ice - a performance weaving a web of connections between the author's own tragic life and that of her literary monster. Both productions were staged at Bournemouth's Shelley Theatre, which was built for Mary Shelley by her son, Sir Percy Florence Shelley.

The next season of work, which is set to take place from March, has a literary theme and includes Far From The Madding Crowd, staged at Lighthouse, Poole; an all-female version of Lord of the Flies at Pavilion Dance, and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - a play with music in collaboration - also at Lighthouse.

"We are starting to have conversations with the designers and we've had some of our auditions, " says Katharine. "We give the students that experience of auditioning - we always hold auditions for our shows. We try and treat the third year as a professional year, but it's also a learning environment."

While only those on year three of the course take part in the external productions, there are ongoing work assessments for first and second years.

"They have skills as well - movement, singing and voice skills - which underpin their acting work," explains Katharine, "so they're constantly performing."

There are around 50 students on each year of the course, who are accepted following an audition, but Katharine stresses no prior experience is necessary, "it's really what they bring to the room on the day in terms of talent and potential".

It's something the teaching staff are well versed in - all those involved in the course have been professional actors and/or directors, with many of them teaching in drama schools before they came to AUB, which recently celebrated receiving a Gold Teaching Excellence Framework award.

"I trained at a conservatoire and we all continue with our acting while we're teaching," says Katharine, "So we are aware of what's required to train an actor."

Upcoming Acting course productions: • Far From the Madding Crowd: March 7– 9 at Lighthouse, Poole: • Lord of the Flies: date TBC, at Pavilion Dance South West • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: May 9–11at Lighthouse, with Kokoro: Details for upcoming Dance productions: • Springboard: April 28 at Pavilion Dance South West: Arts University Bournemouth, Wallisdown Road, Bournemouth T: 01202 533011 W: