Keep an eye on a new promising performer and fundraiser
Date: 16 April 2012
There is surely nothing more daunting than trying to get a place at drama school. Literally thousands of young people trying to be noticed through round after round of applications, the hoped for initial audition, and then recall after recall…and maybe a place for the lucky few. Actually there is one thing more daunting – and that’s trying to find the money for the course (unless you are loaded and able to hand over £13k or so for a year in London for fee and accom).
I tried some years ago to set up a charitable trust to help emerging artists. I even got so far as having an offer of £250,000 to make it happen…an offer which then floated away by the time I had the paperwork in place…but that’s another story. Needless to say there are a few directories which young aspiring actors may pick up that will list me, and my address, and the fact that I might have a charitable trust which gives away money [For the record, sadly I don’t – If I ever win the Lottery I will try again]
One such young artist, Poppy Andrews, won a place at Urdang Academy and wrote to me. She needed help – but what was so impressive is the way in which she prepared her case. She has produced a very clear 6pp 1/3A4 printed leaflet introducing herself as an artist; laying out her experience and excitement at gaining a place; giving clear details of the costs that she had to cover; offering a Q&A about the process of funding study; and offering a very handy form which I could complete along with sending some money. It was enormously professionally done. And without knowing anything about her talent, I will be following her progress through her appeal for support, and her eventual one year course at Urdang. I wish her well.
She produced 100 of these leaflets and has focussed her attention on some celebrities that she found a way to (who have not so far given her any money), some trusts and foundations (who I hope will support her) and a selection of local businesses and contacts in her home area of Devon. I so wish her well in her challenge.
What I hope more than anything is that, presuming she is talented, she continues with this professional and business-like attitude to creating a world for herself. Anything is possible if you believe in yourself and seek support in the right way. At the end of the year of training she may be lucky and get instantly picked up. More than likely she will have a period without work wondering how to create a performing reality for herself. She may have to start her own small company, create her own show, gather a group of young performers and take a show to Edinburgh, do another job to make ends meet. She has given each of her donors a pledge “I can offer very little in return except for this sincere promise: with your contribution and support I will continue to work as hard as I possibly can and pursue my career with gut determination and drive to succeed”. That sounds like a pretty good pledge me.
Good luck Poppy Andrews – and all of your colleagues who have the determination to bring a business-like approach to support your burning passion and, I hope, immense talent for the arts.
- by Chris Grady
Any opinions expressed above do not represent the view of Whatsonstage.com nor any of its staff or contributors beyond the bylined author.
|Chris Grady is a freelance arts manager/trainer working with Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, Mountview Academy of Theatre, London and Stage Entertainment Licensed Productions, Holland. An associate of Wonderbird EU and in development for StoryMusic2020. Over 30 years he has run, built, raised money for, programmed and invented for theatres; conceived festivals, produced trade fairs, shows and galas; taught plate-spinning and sold computers. He runs a series of mentor/coaching sessions for emerging creatives who work in theatre, art, film, dance, spirituality, conjuring, astrology and beyond. There are more things in heaven and earth, good reader, than are dreamed of in your philosophy. Look out beyond Zone 2, beyond the establishment, beyond the horizon, over the edge. The future’s bright and entirely unpredictable.|
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