Class of 2023: Chloe Thomas

We’re so proud of our class of 2023. They’ve overcome enormous challenges, helped others, grasped opportunities, and developed their skills, showing their Essex Spirit in so many ways. And they’ve done all of this during a pandemic when life – and student life – changed beyond recognition. Here, we’re taking the opportunity to share some of their stories.

  • Date

    Wed 5 Jul 23

Chloe Thomas, smiling and looking relaxed

Chloe Thomas knew she wanted to come to Essex before she’d even visited.

Attracted by the reputation of the drama degree in the Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, her choice was cemented when she attended an Open Day, after she’d already applied.

“The lecturers are welcoming, the campus is beautiful, and the modules on offer are outstanding,” she said, reflecting on why she chose Essex.

Today she’s graduating with a BA Drama and Literature and has already secured her dream job as a trainee teacher in Suffolk, a career she hopes will allow her to “inspire young people to read, appreciate literature, and get involved in theatre. Because I adore the subjects so much.”

Having studied the leading Victorian and Edwardian actress Ellen Terry in her first year, Chloe was eager to join the Ellen Terry research project, led by Professor Katharine Cockin, at Essex.

Working on the project as a frontrunner, Chloe was responsible for precisely managing and inputting data, helping researchers to create the Arts and Humanities Research Council funded Ellen Terry and Edith Craig Database.

Speaking about the project she says she learned valuable research, data and confidentiality skills but the most memorable thing was when she discovered obituaries that illustrated how highly regarded the actress was by her colleagues and friends.

“To read of her lengthy career’s work, and her achievements both personally and as an actress was eye-opening and quite emotional.”

Chloe’s time at Essex didn’t come without its challenges and she credits her personal tutor, Dr Nora Williams, and on-campus wellbeing support for helping her through mental health struggles.

She believes that “it helps to have people around you who are aware of the circumstances, who support and encourage, and can make necessary adjustments for you”.

As well as providing vital support, Dr Williams proved inspirational to Chloe academically, because of their shared love of Shakespeare. “Having a lecturer so obviously passionate about their subject is truly inspiring, and definitely transfers to the students,” she said.

The admiration is mutual with Dr Williams praising Chloe for “her love of learning for the sake of learning: she goes above and beyond in her assessments to take risks, dig deeper, and create performance work that is well thought-through and engaging.”

For anyone who is “seeking a campus which has a bit of everything”, Chloe recommends Essex without a doubt and urges new students to get involved in the Lakeside Theatre.

“The theatre is a truly inspiring space we are lucky to have – my only advice would be to use it as much as you can. Put on shows and get involved.”