Holly stepping out to follow a dream

AN aspiring performer from Oulton has gained a place at a world-renowned theatre school.

Holly Beare, 23, is now hoping to follow in the footsteps of singer Pixie Lott (top), comedian Russell (bottom) Brand, actress Sadie Frost, model Naomi Campbell and Norfolk's Claire Goose (middle), who all studied at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts in London before embarking on their careers in showbusiness.

But after landing a coveted place on the one-year intensive course at Italia Conti House – the academy's main school in London – she has launched a fund-raising drive in an effort to help fulfil her dream.

It will get under way with a special concert tonight at The Seagull Theatre in Pakefield, with the money raised going towards Holly's Italia Conti fund.

Holly told The Journal: 'It is such an honour to be given the chance to train at such an establishment out of the thousands of people that audition each year. Unfortunately the cost of the course is �14,616 which is well beyond my means, so I'm trying to raise the funds by writing to possible sponsors and grant organisations, as well as this concert.'

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Admitting that she was 'extremely fortunate' to gain a place at the prestigious academy, she said: 'I love all aspects of dance, but my favourites are ballet and contemporary and I also do hip-hop.

'Loads of talented performers have been to Italia Conti, including quite a lot of West End actors, while Pixie Lott and Russell Brand also went there.

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'I've written for grants, am holding fund-raising events and I hope people will sponsor me. I aim to raise enough for the first term – it's a three-term course – and do at least the first term while I keep raising money when I get there.'

Holly, a former Benjamin Britten High School pupil, said she had first shown an interest in dance when she was just three years old. But after joining the Louise Elizabeth School of Dance aged five, it was when she left the dance school aged 16 that she knew for sure that performing arts was the career path she wished to follow.

After leaving Benjamin Britten High School and completing a national diploma in dance at City College in Norwich, gaining a distinction, Holly then took a couple of years out to save money to study for a three-year musical theatre degree in Essex and she will discover soon if she has received her predicted 2:1.

Holly took part in the Italia Conti auditions in March with an 'intensive' day of dance, song and acting in London, and then came the news she had hoped for – she had been accepted onto the course.

'I've always liked singing as well as dance, and this course focuses on the three core skills of singing, acting and dancing,' she said. 'I would love to go into choreography, and the dream is to have my own company and chorus.'

Tonight's show, which starts at 7.30pm, will feature Holly and two of her performer friends singing a selection of musical theatre, jazz and pop songs with live accompaniment from a pianist, a guitarist and a ukulele player.

?Tickets for the concert can be booked via the theatre box office on 01502 589726 or at www.theseagull.co.uk

?To help Holly with sponsorship or fund-raising, visit www.hollybeare.co.uk

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