Too Poor for Drama School?

Abbie Willcox, 2 October 2012

Benefactors, trusts, grants, schemes, loans, benevolent funds…

I'm a graduate.

I'm not rich.

My parents can't remortgage the house.

I don't have a wealthy Aunt who recently died.

I want to go to drama school.

Sadly no-one who joined my discussion had a money-tree I could take a cutting from but there was certainly some fruitful debate.

The first and obvious point is why would I want to go in the first place, especially when it's looking unlikely that I can't afford it? Well, I want to go for the experience and also, in the longer term, to get work. It's an experience that's worth it in itself.

We talked about applying to grants and trusts and the best places to do that (e.g. turn2us). We covered the Actors Benevolent Fund, stalking lottery winners and applying to wealthy benefactors. I am still optimistic that I might secure some funds from one of these options but it certainly won't pay for the full course and it definitely wouldn't allow me to do other things, like eat.

The idea that you can apply for a student loan after your first degree (possibly with a gap of 3 years) was floated which was certainly news to me. Student Finance we must talk. The other thing was that if RADA wants you they will certainly find a way to fund you. I don't know how fool-proof this is but surely at the very least I would have to go through 4 audition rounds, pay the audition fee and travel to and from London several times? However I will sleep easy tonight knowing that if RADA want me they will certainly come knocking.

One very unhelpful person who did not stay for discussion said that only rich people go to drama school so if you're not rich you can't go. I decided that they were definitely on the ‘disgruntled’ side of life and therefore not to be held personally accountable for their actions. However they did seem to know a lot about it so perhaps I should write to them and ask for money.

So what do I intend to do? Well I am going to create sponsorship packages for companies and corporate agencies; apply to every trust and grant for a 24 year old, female, white, straight, non-religious, born in the West-Country, living in the North West that I can possibly find; reach out to organisations and arts professionals I have worked with over the past few years; write to benefactors, arts heros and lottery winners; call student finance to see what my options are; and save, save, save. If anyone can think of any other fully-clothed ideas worth pursuing then please get in touch.

I am not prepared to accept that people like me simply can't go. This may end up being the plain truth but it doesn't mean I have to accept it.

Attendees: Neil, Andy, Kathryn and James


turn2us, schemes, RADA, drama school, graduate, benevolent fund, actor, Actor, loans, trusts, money, benefactors, rich, grants, disgruntled, Money

Comments: 1

Edward Barrett, 4 October 2012

I wish I could remember who said this - and I probably paraphrase slightly: “We used to train the talented rich and the

talented poor; but soon we'll be training the talented rich and the untalented rich.”