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Changing direction

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Nicola Heywood Thomas Nicola Heywood Thomas | 11:51 UK time, Monday, 23 August 2010

It's always interesting to find out what drives people to create or perform art and, in some cases, to swap up a steady job and salary to follow their dream.

In last week's Radio Wales Arts Show I had a real insight into why a nurse became a silversmith and jeweller and why teaching and office work were exchanged for the stage.

Perhaps most fascinating though was actor and dancer, Clive Hicks Jenkins' move to another field of creative work as a painter. The crucial step seems to be his work as a choreographer which he says is quite similar to painting. It's just amazing to think that one person can be so talented in so many disciplines!

The award-winning jewellery designer Suzie Horan - who designed and made the Crown for this year's National Eisteddfod in Ebbw Vale - was a nurse whose hobby gradually took over her life. It took a good couple of years of thinking about it before she took the plunge but the awards her work has won prove that it was the right decision.

For actress Menna Trussler life really did begin at 40. She was around that age when she felt she'd done her bit in a "proper job" and left the office to work first as an Assitant Stage Manager and then as an actress. She told me she was a useless typist anyway and that, when she left her office ofr the last time, swore she'd never touch a keyboard again!

Soprano Laura Pooley taught Latin before becoming a professional singer. She's now working with Welsh National Opera and, having won the Towyn Roberts Scholarship at the Ebbw Vale Eisteddfod, is a voice to watch out for. Laura's off next year to study further and work as a freelance opera singer.

You see, it's not just TV Reality competitions that allow people to fulfil their artistic capabilities and "live the dream". Look at the early CVs of many artists and you find the strangest beginnings. And, without wishing to be unkind to the Joe McElderrys or Alexandra Burkes of this wrold, my four talented direction changers this week have successful and well established careers.

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