The Shining Star Scholarships
Why did you study musical theatre?
Daisy: I struggled with academia. I’ve always loved musical theatre, but I never thought about doing a degree in it. It didn’t seem possible. So I went into full-time work instead…
Stacey-Marie: Acting in school plays was always something I loved doing. But because of the additional financial demands of studying a drama course, I couldn’t see a way I could afford it. I’m not from a wealthy family. There weren’t many people who looked like me on these type of courses either.
How tough is undertaking a degree if you’re not from a wealthy family?
Daisy: People think all drama students are from middle-class backgrounds. So there’s an assumption that affording £150 for Laducas, which are a special type of dance shoe, or paying £400 for professional head shots, so you can approach agents, is never an issue.
But if you don’t have financial support, it is. We’re also in a cost-of-living crisis, so there’s a whole other layer of economic pressure bearing down.
Stacey-Marie: When I got offered a place at GSA, I worked all through the summer. My dad also got a second job, just so I could afford to initially move down here from Manchester.
I’ve been lucky at GSA because I’ve been awarded scholarships every year I’ve been here. Without them, I wouldn’t have made it through the course. Even with this support, I’ve still had meetings with course tutors to discuss the fact I may not have the money to complete my studies.
What difference have scholarships made for you?
Daisy: The Shining Star Scholarship has essentially allowed me to complete my course without having to hold down three part-time jobs at the same time. It’s made a huge difference. This scholarship has given me the space to focus on my studies.
I know I’m entering a competitive profession. But I’m excited for what the future holds.
Stacey-Marie: Securing scholarships was the only reason I was able accept and complete this course. But it’s more than that.
Securing scholarships meant that somebody who I’ve never met saw me, where I was from and where I wanted to go, and chose to support that. Suddenly, it wasn’t just me and my dad trying to make this dream work.