John Moran Educational - Trust Making financial awards to support the entry into higher education
 
Student Profiles

The Trust has made awards to over forty two deserving students from the Merseyside region since it was set up in 2003. Here’s more about what these students did with their awards, and what it meant to them:

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Profile 41

Unlike most people, I have been fortunate enough to have known exactly what I wanted to do for a chosen career from the age of 6, when I first took to the stage in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Whistle down the Wind’ at the Liverpool Empire. As well as this, some people have life goals of getting married, having kids or owning their own house. Of course, I want these things to happen, but the one thing that has been in the forefront of my mind since a young age is going to University at the age of 18. I always knew that the degree I would complete would have to be something to do with performing and being on stage. Since then, Musical Theatre has been my hobby, passion and ultimate goal for the future, as well as something that I have dedicated my life to.

I have been a part of the Liverpool Empire Youth Theatre and Dance Company for 6 years. I have played a number of main roles in the productions at the Empire theatre, including Rizzo in Grease, Grizabella in Cats and Deloris Van Cartier in the first youth production of Sister Act in the North of England. These wide ranging roles have enabled me to develop and further improve my performing versatility, as well as being able to lead a company of 110. I attend The Finesse School of Dance and have done since the age of three, gaining top grades in a range of dance styles such as ballet, tap and modern. I have performed on the West End several times, as part of the Billy Elliott Youth theatre as a ballet girl at the Victoria Palace Theatre, in a dance festival at Saddlers Wells and I was chosen out of the whole country to be the solo singer at ‘The Stars in our Eyes’ gala at Her Majesty’s Theatre in 2013. I am a keen writer for The Public Reviews, reviewing productions across the north-west for the past year. This is an invaluable opportunity as I have had a chance to view different genres of shows, and give my own, critical yet constructive view in an official manner. I volunteer for The Oliver King Foundation, a charity raising awareness for the heart condition SADS. I have completed my bronze Duke of Edinburgh award, something that pushed me mentally and physically, as well as being the main singer at the awards ceremony at the Echo Arena. Aside from all of that, I love spending time with my family and friends.

I realised, around the time when I was completing my GCSE’s at King David High School, that if I wanted to take up Musical Theatre as my life career, then I would have to have some form of qualifications to do so. Instead of simply choosing to go to a college to do a full time BTEC or equivalent to, I had to think about the future, and in a realistic sense. The performing arts is proven to be one of the hardest fields to take up a career in. The Guardian has even claimed that it is harder to gain a place at an accredited drama school than Oxford or Cambridge. I also wanted to be realistic, so I felt that A Levels were the best choice, enabling me to complete subjects that I strive in, as well as getting the academic recognition that goes with the qualification.  King David however, didn’t offer performance studies, drama or even theatre studies as an A level subject, which was my 1st choice when choosing my subjects. So I then had the move to Carmel College, in St Helens an hour from my home here in Liverpool. To be able to travel to and from the college, I had a part time job in Superdrug, Parker Street where I earned enough for my bus pass, and I now have a summer job at Fitwell on Smithdown Road.

Neither of my parents went to university. My mum has had rheumatoid arthritis since the age of 3 and left school as a young teenager and my dad played for Everton fc until he left there at the age of 18. Due to this, I want to prove that although financially university isn't the obvious option for me that it is vital for me to succeed in my chosen career path. I want to be the first person in my immediate family to take that leap to higher education.

I have been accepted into two accredited drama schools. The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in London. Alumni of these schools include, David Tennant, Alan Cumming and Amanda Holden. Both schools have graduates working within the West End and in touring companies right now, which is my ultimate goal. Although I am privileged to have gained a place at both of these schools, I have received an unconditional offer from the RCS and the school only accepts a maximum of 18 students per year on the BA Hons Musical Theatre Course, with places reserved for both Scottish and international students. The small class sizes will give me the one-to-one attention that will help me develop as a performer. I also felt comfortable within the school when I attended my audition in January, as I was able to totally be myself as well as keep my ‘scouse’ identity, something which is very important to me and makes me stand out from the crowd. I have always been so proud to be from Liverpool and I’m going to miss this vibrant, friendly and amazing city when I make the move up to Glasgow. I was also interested in the ‘Actor Musician’ aspect of the course at the RCS, since I have been teaching myself piano since last September. Therefore I have chosen to study at the RCS after receiving A Level results of A* in Textiles, A in Performance Studies and a C in English Language.

The conservatoire recommend that students who are on the BA Musical Theatre course, don’t have a part-time job, as a typical students day will run from 8am to 6pm with 90% of the course being high intensity practical work.. My parents are unable to support me financially; as there are two households to be paid for due to my parents being divorced and working part time and I also have 2 younger brothers.

It has been said that university and in my case, drama school, has become a choice only for those who are more comfortable financially, and the thought of struggling through the three years of a degree is daunting for someone like myself. When I received the email to say I had been awarded with a bursary from the John Moran Trust, I was overjoyed. The financial support will help me in so many ways, from buying equipment for my course, to being able to live independently. The stress of money has been taken away which I will forever be thankful for. The work the John Moran Trust do is simply amazing. They help young people like me who otherwise would not have been able to go to university and that is inspiring. Thank you to everyone at the John Moran trust for giving me this award, which I am proud and honoured to be a recipient of. 

Once again I would like to thank everyone at the trust for giving me this award. I am so honoured.

My first year studying at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland on the BA Musical Theatre course has been challenging, intense yet extremely rewarding and enjoyable. It was, at first, really hard to try and adjust to living independently and doing a lot of 'adult' things that I hadn't even thought about prior to moving away from home. It was so upsetting to leave my family and the familiarity of home, to go to somewhere where I didn't know anyone, and in a totally different city. However, Glasgow as a city is brilliant and it didn't take me long at all to find my way around. Living in Glasgow has been great. The people, the places and the atmosphere really helps you fall in love with the place; a lot like Liverpool. The fact the city is so alike to where I grew up, really put my mind at ease. I have been living in student halls throughout the year. This has had its ups and downs but I don't regret staying in accommodation, as its safe, a great way to meet new people and a gentle ease into living independently.

The course itself has been extremely intense. With only eighteen in my year, all coming from different places around the world such as America, Germany and even as far as Australia, getting along with my peers was vital to being able to enjoy my time at university as a whole. Luckily, due to the well organised Fresher's events, and spending up to 10 hours a day with each other I feel like I know my year group inside and out! It is crazy to think I have only known these people since September, but I already know that I am going to be lifelong friends with them all. Due to the long hours, and huge content and practicality of the course, having strong relationships with friends really helped me get through the good times and the bad, especially when I needed a pick me up after a long, stressful week.

As a performer, I feel I have really progressed with my work and got much better. It isn't surprising after having one to one tutoring in three different instruments and focusing solely on technique and skills in my first year. I didn't play anything before starting at the Conservatoire, but after only one year I now can read music and play the violin, piano and guitar. This is something that I never thought I would be able to do after three years, never mind just one. The toughest part of the course has to be the stretching of your physical and emotional boundaries.  An example of this are the body conditioning classes  at 7am every Monday morning, and having to get so deep into a character in acting classes, that you become emotionally involved does start to take its toll. But with weekend visits home to recuperate and the support from friends and amazing tutors at university, experiences such as these start to mature you as not only a performer, but as a young adult.

Due to the course being a creative one, the way I am assessed differs greatly to most university degrees. Throughout the year, I am continually assessed by my tutors, so being on your best behaviour at all times is something you constantly have to think about. There are no huge lectures with masses of students, instead there is nowhere to hide in a class of nine people when we are split into two classes, which is usually the case. Staying engaged and focused in lessons is vital to getting a good grade. As well as this, I have practical assessments in each of the parts of my course. Dance, drama, singing and music are all assessed practically, and I had to prepare multiple dances, monologues, songs and instrument pieces to perform in front of a panel. The assessments happen over the course of two weeks and are very stressful, but luckily I have come out with As and Bs in all areas, which I am very pleased about.

Looking into second year, I am extremely excited to start the next chapter of my journey. I have moved into a new flat with four of my friends on my course, which is just a two minute walk from university, right in the city centre. Second year starts to get a lot more creative and less about technique, with a whole module on devising and putting on our first external actor musician show. I am enjoying my summer back in Liverpool, but I am itching to get back into a routine with my closest friends, doing what I love doing all day every day.

Without the John Moran Trust, my first year would have been a lot more difficult and stressful. The money I kindly received from the trust enabled me to purchase all the necessary equipment needed for the course. The list of equipment ranging from dance wear, dance shoes, books, and musical instruments to laptops and stationery was huge, and very expensive. The fact I was able to go out and get these things without any worry about money was amazing. A career in Musical Theatre is a hard, uncertain one, but the money that I have received from the Trust has already made a huge difference to my university experience after just one year.  I am excited to see what the future holds for me, with the John Moran Trust’s support by my side.  

My second year at the RCS has been a tough one both as an actor in training and as a young adult. However, it is a year that has inevitably helped me grow and to progress to a level I never thought I’d achieve. The beginning of the year was the most challenging for me, as I was unsure whether I was in the right profession and doing what I should be. My confidence was at rock bottom. I learnt that I had to find things that sparked inspiration within me and brought back the passion that I have had since I was young. By taking time out to concentrate on myself and by really working hard, the second part of second year was subsequently a brilliant one for me. I am now much happier within myself, and happy being me, which works in parallel with being confident and happy on stage. I feel that if I hadn't of gone through the muddy part at the beginning of the year, I wouldn't be at the stage I am now. The opportunities that I have had this year have also helped me with my development.

Being chosen to be in the third year’s production of Chess was an amazing experience where I learnt so much on a huge commercial show. The size of the production was bigger than I could have ever imagined and I felt so privileged to have been a part of it. By also working on projects with the National Theatre of Scotland, and a new, up and coming production company Stella Quines, I had the opportunity to put my imagination and ideas into a piece of development work, which was invaluable for both the students and the big theatre makers. 

We found out two of our shows for the third year of my course. They will be London Road and Spring Awakening, which I am so excited for. The third show, which is an actor musician show hasn't been confirmed yet and we are all waiting for that information to be released to us. Spring Awakening will also transfer to Dundee Rep theatre in Dundee for the second part of the run, which will be an huge learning experience to get to work within a new and up and coming venue. We also have a showcase in January that will be on in Glasgow and at the Novello theatre in London’s West End, which is extremely exciting.

At the end of this year, I completed my season audition where I had to prepare 3 songs, 2 monologues and a piece on my violin for a panel, so they have an idea of where to cast me in the shows in third year. This was a nerve wracking experience but one I was again prepared for and thought went well.

I have also just finished all of my assessments which went really well. I was focused and prepared for these and have been getting positive feedback. This is also showing in my grades, which I am able to successfully move forward into third year with. 

This time next year I will be graduating and (hopefully!) have an agent and a job to go into. This coming year will be full of hard work and will start to feel more like I'm a working professional than a student, which is both exciting and daunting. I am planning to go between Liverpool and Glasgow this summer, as I have a job chaperoning young people in a production of Fame and in a Youth ballet production, both staged at the Liverpool Empire Theatre. 

The Trust has supported me so much with their contribution and help towards my studies this year. Due to having a stressful and mentally hard year, having their support has enabled me to have one less thing to worry about and stress over, which I believe is one of the many reasons why I still want to pursue a career in the arts today. I am eternally grateful to the John Moran Educational Trust for this year and all three years of my studies and will continue to be throughout my career.