Michelle Terry was lucky enough to be spotted by a casting director when showcasing her work as a final-year student at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, part of the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama.
The director gave her the break she needed: a coveted role in the show Blithe Spirit , which has been packing in audiences at London's Savoy Theatre.
But Ms Terry said she was all too aware that she could be out of a job by January, when the next employment indicator survey is conducted.
She said: "My contract gives me just two weeks' notice, so if audience figures suddenly drop, I could easily be looking for my next job in the new year. A lot of my friends who are in Christmas shows will be in that position.
"If I were doing some casual work and I was asked to respond to the survey, I would say I was unemployed. That's because my course was so vocational that I would assume I was being asked whether I was working in theatre, film or TV, not as a cleaner or a barmaid."