AN entertainer whose career on cruise lines was scuttled by the pandemic is singing from the rooftops after managing to fulfil her childhood dream of becoming a journalist.
Sara Perovic is in the final stages of completing the NCTJ Level 5 Diploma in Journalism at Darlington College after COVID hit her entertainments company and she decided to retrain.
After returning to college, the 51-year-old has achieved the highest gold standard in her NCTJ public affairs, video journalism, ethics regulation and media law. She is awaiting the results of her portfolio, court reporting and essential journalism and is about to sit her shorthand exam.
Sara is already working for a number of news outlets and has interviews for full time work in the pipeline.
“As a child I always wanted to be a journalist but my parents wanted me to go into teaching,” said Sara, of Gateshead. “I’d been singing since childhood and when I went to Bradford University to read a B.Ed ( Hons ) degree took it up professionally.”
After winning singing competitions she was taken on by an agent and after becoming a teacher she auditioned for Cameron MackIntosh’s touring musical, Oliver! and found herself in the final three to play the lead role of Nancy. She also recorded a new version of Karma Chameleon with Boy George at Abbey Road Studios.
Her entertainment career took off and she performed as part of award-winning cabaret duo Watson and Wood in clubs around the country before joining Thomson Cruise lines as a vocalist, as well as performing in touring theatrical variety shows.
Sara also wrote, produced and directed children’s theatre shows and became cruise director on ships operated by Seabourn, Cunard and P&O Australia, where she was also a presenter of the on-board daily TV“I loved this role. I managed the entertainment department, was a master of ceremonies and got to meet royalty and celebrities,” she said. “But then the pandemic hit and it was a nightmare.”
Working with her partner Nigel March, they witnessed the pandemic wipe the next two years of work from the diary. “I’d worked my entire life with no time off, I’d dedicated my life to my career, so this was hard to get my head round – it was devastating,” she said.
“I plummeted into depression and as I didn’t qualify for any Government help I had no income which left me stressed.”
She took a job with Fedex handling customer complaints. “I’d gone from a life full of variety to one full of complaints,” she said.
“Nigel was so supportive and we sat down to think what else I could do. We came full circle to what I’d wanted to do when I left school – be a journalist. So I phoned Darlington College and that has become another journey of discovery. I’ve turned a corner from the depression and it has definitely been the right step for me.”
“Every single tutor has helped me restore my confidence levels. They have skilfully restored my self-esteem and the course has given me so many skills. Their professionalism and knowledge is first-class. They are key players in changing my life and restoring my self-belief.”
To help make ends meet she found a job reporting for a social media hub and has been accepted on a TV mentoring scheme.
“I’d love to work in broadcast journalism and research where I could use my arts background,” she said. “Darlington College has been a turning point and I’m really excited about the next chapter of my life.”