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Lynne graduated this summer from the BA (Hons) Performance for Live and Recorded Media. She now plans to set up her own theatre company with three other graduates and continue her studies at master’s level.

As part of her studies at Teesside, Lynne also received the Dr Richard Griffiths Award for Outstanding Student Performance, an award created in memory of the Thornaby-born actor and Teesside University honorary graduate.

Lynne, 55, from Skelton, said: “I was in tears when I read the email which said I’d won the award, it gave me such a feeling that I had done the right thing in returning to education.

“I wanted to complete the degree as I have always wanted to get into acting. When I was younger, my dad discouraged me from pursuing it as a profession and I went on to work in banking, foster care and the commercial department of an engineering company.

“It was being made redundant which eventually helped me to make up my mind about pursuing my love of acting.”

Lynne, who came to Teesside through Clearing, was impressed by the scope covered by the course, from the performance and practical side of learning, to the academic theory.

Teesside University still has places available for undergraduate study in a range of courses. More information about how to apply can be found at www.tees.ac.uk/clearing

Lynne is also involved with a drama group in Redcar for teenagers, teaching them acting techniques.

She described the three years of the degree as “chaotic” as she combined full-time study with work and family life.

“I was a bit nervous starting the degree, being a bit older than most of the other students,” said Lynne, “but everyone was so supportive and they also looked to me for support too and would often call me mamma Lynne, which I thought was lovely.”

Lynne added: “My studies really helped me to start working in the arts industry in helping to build a network of professionals which enabled me to work professionally while completing the degree. Not only did I learn a lot about performance in its many guises, the course also helped me to develop my abilities and confidence.”

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