Talented Ilkeston teenager’s Italia Conti Theatre dream in doubt due to funding problems

Georgina Grainger, 19, has always dreamed of being a theatre performer.
Georgina Grainger, 19, has always dreamed of being a theatre performer.

A talented Ilkeston teenager who has been awarded a place at the world famous Italia Conti Theatre Arts Academy in London may have her “dream” crushed because of funding issues.

Georgina Grainger, 19, of Monkton Close, Shipley View, has dreamed of being a theatre performer from a young age.

The former Kirk Hallam Community Academy student recently found out that she had gained a place at Italia Conti, which has helped produce stars such as Bonnie Langford and Tracie Bennett.

However, Georgina says the fees of about £16,000 per year for three years, plus living costs, are out of her mum Angie’s reach.

“When I found out I had got into Italia Conti it was just amazing,” Georgina said.

“I told everyone that I did not think that I would get in. When I told my mum she started crying.

“It is my dream college that I have always wanted to go to.

“It will be a bit gutting that I have achieved so much but that because of my background I might not be able to go there.”

Georgina is soon to complete a foundation course in performing arts at Evolution Arts Foundation College in Colchester, Essex.

She funded her foundation course by working two jobs at The Spanish Bar, South Street, Ilkeston, and at Trowell Garden Centre, Stapleford Road, Nottingham.

The foundation course allowed Georgina to apply to some of the best theatre institutions in the country, including Millennium Performing Arts, London, and CPA Studios, Romford, Essex.

Following a number of auditions between February and April this year, in which the teenager had to dance, sing and act, she received the news she had been selected for a place at Italia Conti, as well as Millennium Performing Arts and CPA Studios.

Georgina said that her mum Angie, 44, has always done everything possible to help her achieve her dreams but, understandably, this time the fees are too high.

“It would be the best thing ever to happen to me if I could go to Italia Conti,” Georgina said.

“My mum has worked very hard to bring up two hard-working and achieving daughters on her own.

“She has done everything possible for me and my sister Jasmine and I know she would pay for me if she could.

Although some help with funding can be obtained, it would still leave Georgina’s mum needing to find thousands of pounds to help her daughter’s dream come true.

Georgina’s mum Angie said: “I’m so very proud of Georgina. In addition to being offered places at such prestigious performance arts colleges, she worked incredibly hard to achieve good grades in her GCSE and A-level exams, as she knew that to get on to good courses in great colleges, she would also need to be doing well academically.

“It has been her dream to be a theatre performer from a very young age, and her focus has never wavered.

“We really, really hope that there are some wonderful people or companies out there that could help us financially to help Georgina take up this fabulous opportunity to study as unlike academic studies, government finance or student loans are not available to study the arts.”

Georgina said that she would also like to hear from anyone who may be able to help with fundraising ideas or who has experienced a similar problem.

“I have written letters to the likes of Bonnie Langford, not for financial help, but to see if she has any advice for me,” Georgina said.

“I would still be very happy to go to one of the other colleges and I would work just as hard, but Italia Conti is my dream.

Get in touch with Georgina at georgina.grainger1@ntlworld.com.