Time traveller Karen calls in at college

Posted on 14/06/2014 by


Karen Gillan 3

Pictured: Performing arts programme leader Scott Johnston, David Robertson, Karen Gillan, Marlee Pearson and Kay McAllister.

Local lass (and soon to be Galactic superstar!) Karen Gillan returned to Edinburgh College Granton Campus – where she studied performing arts – to give students an insight into the life and career of a top actress.

Karen, who studied at the college’s Performing Arts Studio Scotland (PASS) from 2004 to 2005, met around 70 students during her visit, answering questions and posing for pictures.

She spent 45 minutes with the students from the NC and HND Acting and Performance courses at the waterfront campus, talking about the career that has taken her from the BBC’s Dr Who to Hollywood films and a starring role in an American sitcom. She discussed everything from the intricacies of working with the green screens used to add digital effects, making her way as a Scot in Hollywood and London’s media worlds, and how her college education has helped her progress in TV and film.

Karen visit came at a busy time – she’s never been in higher demand. She features in two major major films to be released this summer: the unsettling horror Oculus and the latest Marvel blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy. In Guardians of the Galaxy, she will share the screen with the universe’s toughest talking raccoon and his walking tree creature friend, as her blue-skinned villain Nebula does battle with the heroic Guardians!

She also has a starring role  in a new sitcom called Selfie on America’s NBC Network.

The visit to Edinburgh College was arranged by performing arts programme leader Scott Johnston, who taught Karen at the college and has stayed in touch with her since she left.

Karen said: “It was such an honour to be welcomed back into the college that taught me so much. It was great to see so many enthusiastic students. It made me nostalgic for my time spent studying with Scott and the things I learned.”

Scott said: “It was an absolute joy to have Karen back at the college. The students loved meeting her. They got the chance to ask her loads of questions and learned a lot about what it’s like to try and make it as an actor, so it was really valuable for them. After the Q&A she stayed behind to pose for selfies with the students so they were delighted. She’s a great actress and a lovely person, and we’re very proud of how she’s doing.

“We try to give our students as broad an understanding of the industry as possible to make sure they appreciate all aspects of it when they begin their careers, so we arrange regular visits by actors, writers, directors, agents and other roles. When it’s someone like Karen, who studied here on the same course they did, that can be incredibly inspiring. She’s a brilliant ambassador for the college and we hope our students can follow in her footsteps.”

Karen Gillan 1