Award-winning Make-up and Special Effects Artist teaches students to make monsters

Date 30.11.2023

Students at the University of Northampton have benefitted from one-to-one training and tutelage by one of Hollywood’s greatest make-up and prosthetic artists.

With a trophy cabinet which boasts three Academy Awards, two Emmy Awards and one BAFTA, Ve Neill has established herself as one of the highest awarded and well-respected artists in the industry. She is the ground-breaking artist who has created Hollywood’s most iconic faces including Mrs Doubtfire, The Grinch, Beetlejuice, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Hunger Games, Edward Scissorhands, The Amazing Spiderman and Batman.

Invited to the University of Northampton as part of her first UK-University collaboration, Ve shared her industry insights and tricks-of-the-trade with students from a variety of creative disciplines, including Hair, Makeup and Prosthetics for Stage and Screen and Creative Film, Television and Digital Media Production.

There was a packed schedule in place throughout her four-day visit to offer students the opportunity to learn from one of the best in the industry. This included:

  • Leading a technical workshop with two classes of students, demonstrating the application of foam latex prosthetics and make-up for two witch and ogre characters
  • Offering unique industry insight as part of ‘In Conversation with Ve Neill’, an exclusive on-stage event held at Waterside Campus for students, staff and industry professionals (including representatives from TILT, Royal and Derngate and Castle Theatre) to quiz Ve on her career and industry insights
  • Leading an employability talk with students from the University of Northampton’s Hair, Makeup and Prosthetics for Stage and Screen course
  • Meeting key figures from across the University, including Vice Chancellor Anne-Marie Kilday and Deans of the Faculty of Arts, Science and Technology and Faculty of Business and Law, John Sinclair and Karen Jones.

The packed schedule of events offered students at the University a rare opportunity to engage with an award-winning industry professional on a one-to-one basis, receiving personal advice and guidance on ‘making it’ within the industry.

Ve Neill standing next to students applying makeup.

Reflecting on her visit, Ve said: “I’ve been fortunate enough to achieve a number of accolades throughout my 45-year career, and I’m really passionate about contributing towards educating and inspiring the next generation of artistic professionals.

“It’s been fantastic to visit the UK for the first time and collaborate with the University of Northampton. I was incredibly impressed with the calibre of skill and professionalism demonstrated by the students – some of which had never worked with foam latex before – and I look forward to continuing to work with the University throughout the coming years.”

Deputy Head of Subject: Culture – Media, Film and Special Effects, Anthony Stepniak adds: “This has truly been a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity for the students on our creative undergraduate courses.

“Our industry is incredibly reliant on people of Ve’s calibre and expertise taking the time to speak with students who are taking the first steps in becoming artistic professionals, to learn from her career which has spanned more than four decades.

“Her willingness to work with our students was greatly appreciated and it was wonderful to see first-hand our students inspired by her presence on campus, elevating their skills and creating some fantastic practical work under her supervision.

“I’m confident Ve’s visit will have had an immeasurable benefit to our students, and made all of the hard work to make this visit a reality worth it.”

Group photo of Ve Neill and students with prosthetic witch make-up.