I wouldn’t be here without the funding, this is the kind of industry where you feel like you’re surrounded by a lot of people with money, and you wonder if there’s a place for you.
In 2020 my Dad got a brain tumour, so he had to take time off work. Then, my Mum had an accident and broke the right side of her body, and I had to take time out of the industry because she was in a wheelchair, so I took a step back to care for her and my dad that year.
I found it quite hard, having taken that time out for family stuff, then trying to get your foot back in the door was tricky. I applied to Mountview because of the reputation it has, the nice thing is it’s about becoming a well-rounded artist. When I first got accepted in March 2022, I couldn’t do the course if I couldn’t fund it myself, as I don’t have any support from my parents. Then, through Mountview I got the Leverhulme Scholarship before starting. And only then could I go.
I was originally commuting, and it was really hard. 5 hours a day, it was awful, I don’t know how I did it now. Then getting home to the family situation, which is quite hard to be surrounded by while trying to get your work done. I struggled because I wasn’t living in London, and I wasn’t able to fully invest in the course. It wasn’t until I applied for support from the Judi Dench Fund that I was able to move to London and have the same opportunities as my peers. There’s so much happening here, like on Tuesday night they do script readings, or even to come and support the other shows, and I think I found that really hard last year that I had the funding to get into Mountview, but I can’t actually commit to anything because I’m travelling home. It’s been so nice now that I can go and support this or go and network with this person. It was just so hard, whereas this term it’s been nice to feel I’ve got that time rather than just like a robot.
Theatre can feel like it’s just a very privileged place, when you audition you have to pay for the train, and the audition, and then the course fees, and these financial barriers arise at every stage. I think it’s important to offer financial support to make it accessible. When you’re looking at the people who have done the course before, if you don’t see people who are similar to you it doesn’t feel accessible at all.
Mountview is a place that is supportive and forward thinking, always opening boundaries, and I feel like you get 100% of the commitment from the course, the people you’re working with, and the time they’re giving you is incredible.