Melanie Crump and team at the launch

After a highly successful launch last week we chat to Melanie Crump about the Bath Academy of Media Make-up.

Q: Why did you set up a media makeup academy and why in Bath?

A: Firstly, this has been my dream for many, many years and it is wonderful to to see that dream realised at last.  I opened the academy in Bath because there is no other of its kind in the South West – call it a gap in the market! 

Bath is a creative city that loves the arts, with many period dramas being filmed here, BBC studios in Cardiff and Bristol and it being a safe place for students to study without incurring the exorbitant costs of London.  Also because it’s my home town and I love it!

Q: Who did you invite to the recent VIP launch?

A:  Local movers and shakers, industry professionals and local and regional media. We also invited university and college heads of departments, local salon and beauty owners, film/production people and makeup colleagues from all over the UK. In addition, we invited some family a few close friends, some of whom happen to work in film and TV!  

Q: How did you manage to get so many amazing tutors together for BAMM?

Having been in the industry for over a decade I have made some amazing contacts and friends, and that extends to other makeup artists!  I must say, even I have to pinch myself to see the list of talent on the BAMM website.  At the launch it was like being surrounded by one incredible team of talent; I was a touch overwhelmed at time. 

When it came to signing these people up, it’s worth mentioning that it’s within their interest to support the academy, as this will obviously generate more work for them in the future.  As part of the package, we are offering tutors a central city, state of the art location to work from and we have developed a separate tutor cottage which is gorgeous.  We have also ensured that their salary matches the industry rate.

When it came to the launch, it was fantastic that so many tutors turned up from all round the UK. At the end of the day, we all support each other, we all get along and knew the evening was an important one for BAMM.  Everyone was so excited prior to the event at seeing one another after sometimes years!

Q: Who showcased their work on the night?

A: We had a total of nine tutors, all of whom created the most incredible exhibits, from hair to makeup to an incredible, dramatized autopsy (fake of course!)  This included; Faye Ward, Paul Paintin, Angela Williams, Vincent Silvester, Maria Leyden, Maya M, Emma Rankin, Juliette Argentte and Darren Longthorne.

Q: You must be delighted with the feedback from your launch?

A: I have been completely overwhelmed by the feedback actually!  I don’t think anyone realised quite how skilled and imaginative we all are!  I was quietly confident though… I know my team!  It was great hearing the creative industry professionals who attended being so complimentary… it’s nice getting praise from your peers.

 Q: Who came up with the ideas for the amazing characters?

A: I initially had in mind to do the live autopsy (which was worked on by Darren Longthrone) and Vampires and Vampirettes in a ‘True Blood’ style (sexy Vamp).  I also wanted a ‘Jack the Ripper’ character lurking up the alleyway, but the rest of the makeup exhibits were chosen by the individual artists.

As a makeup artist you seldom get the chance to just do whatever you want, so having ‘creative licence’ make a wonderful change – and I gave this as a gift to the tutors – they certainly didn’t disappoint!

Q: You had three events over three days, why was that?

A: We wanted to make good use of the spectacular Halloween theme and felt Thursday night would be convenient for industry professionals after work etc. We needed to have Open Day (Friday day) straight after whilst we had all the tutors around, as they had travelled from far and needed to get back to their work commitments.

The final event on Friday evening was a celebration for friends and family, just to show them the school and for me to have a drink and let my hair down!

Our VIP event was catered by the wonderful Ben Tucker – the best canapés I have ever tasted!

Q: You live in London; you must do a lot of travelling!?

A: Yes I do, but that’s normal in this industry. I have been to and from Bath a lot recently – the M4 has become disturbingly familiar journey! Unfortunately, I lost my car keys on Thursday night, but in that time it’s been quite nice being driven around for once!

 Q: The academy looks amazing!  How long did it take to convert the existing building into a makeup school?

A: It looks fantastic, fresh, uncluttered, lots of light and with so much space! The team started work at the beginning of August so only two months, which is incredible. I’m very lucky to have a builder in the family, and a landscape gardener, so they were fine being whipped into action!

Q:  What are your plans for the future?

A: To become the best media makeup academy in the UK. I want to grow BAMM’s reputation for producing a high standard of tuition, in an environment that both student and tutors thrive in. Eventually I would like to offer more than just a media makeup academy, branching in time into facial prosthesis and mortuary cosmetology. I really want to take makeup to a new level and blow boundaries. 

I am striving for our courses to become a part degree course with the Bath Spa University and I want to be renowned for producing BAFTA award winning makeup designers.  But hey, we have just started…!

Q: What if someone were interested in one of your courses – where would they go?

We have all the information any prospective student would need on our website: 

People can also engage with us on or on Twitter /BAMMakeup. 

For more info have a look at the news item below featured on BBC Points West (or for the original news item visit the BBC Points West website).

Credits for photography: 

Event Organiser: 

  • Jo Crump