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Alumni Profile

Carley Armstrong

Carley Amstrong

BA Media Production 2014

Carley graduated with a first class degree– and landed a job as Production Assistant on the BAFTA Award winning children’s TV series, The Dumping Ground. She has just now clinched a job as production runner on the filming of Beowulf.

Expected to be one of the biggest drama series ITV has made, Beowulf, staring Kieran Bew, from Hartlepool, is due to air early next year. Single mum Carley is thrilled to be on the set of Beowulf, which is being filmed in a purpose-built Viking village, Herot, situated in remote Weardale.

Also starring William Hurt and Joanne Whalley, as well as former Coronation Street’s Ian Puleston Davies, Beowulf will have a prime Saturday night slot.

Carley, from Hendon, says: “I am very proud to be working on something which is set to be truly amazing, and right on our doorstep.

“I am working behind the scenes on something so huge and I have had some great experiences and learned so much from my time here. We still have several more months of filming to do.”

Carley, who juggled her studies at the university with being a mum to six-year-old Alfie, says: “My home city is very close to my heart. I would like to inspire young people from Sunderland like me to be the best they possibly can be, no matter who they are or where they come from.”

“I’m a Mackem born and bred, and I thought where better to study than my hometown,” Carley adds. 

Alfie is now six, and his mum, at age 25, has more experience under her belt in TV and film than many people twice her age.

One of the first things Carley did at Sunderland was to start her own production company with fellow students with an eye on career opportunities. It was a shrewd move that led Carley to work in the production offices for MTV, on the feature films Harrigan and Almost Married, and then got her a foot in the door of two of the country’s biggest shows, the X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent.

“I started work on the X Factor in 2012, which led to me working for two years on Britain’s Got Talent,” says Carley. This led to further opportunities, and in 2013 the young mum got her first on screen credit as researcher on the Channel 4 documentary series Bouncers.

Now Carley has landed her dream job in her own back yard, and is quick to recommend others take the plunge and grasp the opportunities offered at the University of Sunderland.

“I have had great support from the University, and some great career guidance. I am so proud of myself as I am making a positive future for my son and following my dreams,” she says. 

“It wouldn't have been possible had I not had the support, guidance and contacts which I made through the University of Sunderland. All I have ever wanted to do my whole life is make drama, TV, radio and films, and now I am."

Carley has her eyes fixed firmly on her career. As a part of her final dissertation she produced an adventure fantasy film called ‘Chimera’ about a young boy who is lost in a fantasy world. This has been her biggest project to date and she was hoping to enter it into various film festivals.

“But I will never forget my Sunderland roots. I am hoping one day to make a documentary on us Mackems!”

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