Help Rebecca get her American dream
Published: 13 May 2016
Rebecca Fish is 16 years old and hails from Stronsay, Orkney. She is on the cusp of starting a career that she has been working towards for as long as she can remember.
But she needs your help. Cheryl Livingstone finds out more about this young girl’s dream and how you can help make it a reality.
SO WHEN DID YOUR INTEREST IN ACTING BEGIN?
I used to live in Saltburn in England. It’s about an hour south of Newcastle, and my family was involved in the local drama group which you couldn’t join until you were 11 but I got in a year early so I started when I was 10.
When I moved to Orkney, most of the stuff I’ve done has been with the Scottish Youth Theatre since then.
SO WHO WAS IT FROM YOUR FAMILY THAT WAS INVOLVED?
My mum Rosalind worked in wardrobe making costumes. My oldest brother, Alasdair, did props and a bit of acting too. My step-dad Roger was very much in the drama group too. He was definitely the biggest performer and I used to tease him about it but I looked up to him because of that.
AND WHAT WERE YOU LIKE AS A CHILD? WERE YOU ALWAYS A PERFORMER?
I’ve been doing ballet since I was three so I guess I’ve always been doing some kind of performing arts.
AND THE DRAMA GROUP IN ENGLAND, WHAT KIND OF PERFORMANCES DID YOU DO?
We did a pantomime every Christmas and then the group did a play every summer. The first one I did was The Wizard of Oz, then we did The Tempest. They were both such amazing experiences for me and I'll never forget them.
WHAT INTERESTED YOU ABOUT ACTING?
My mum used to take me to the drama group's rehearsals and I loved watching the older girls and I really looked up to them because they were doing what I wanted to do. They were just everything I wanted to be when I grew up.
WHEN DID YOU DECIDE YOU WANTED TO DO IT AS A CAREER?
From when I was really little I’ve just wanted to do it all the time.
WHO ARE YOUR FAVOURITE ACTORS?
I have so many. Emma Thompson is definitely one of my idols. David Tennant and Tom Hanks and Olivia Colman.
ARE THERE ANY FILMS WHICH YOU WOULD HAVE LOVED TO HAVE BEEN IN?
I grew up watching the Harry Potter films, they were a big part of my childhood so I definitely wanted to be in them.
Emma Watson was also in Ballet Shoes, it was a BBC film that came out one Christmas. I was still doing ballet then and it was amazing and I wanted to be in it.
SO WHEN YOU STARTED TO LOOK AT WHAT TO DO AFTER SCHOOL, DID YOU INSTANTLY LOOK AT AMERICA?
I looked at America very early on because it’s such an ideal in your head when you think of films and acting, you do think of Hollywood. But I think, part of it I am very young. I’m too young to audition for British drama schools. You have to be 18 to go to our schools. The advert for The American Academy of Dramatic Arts was on the back of the stage newspaper and I looked at all the alumni. Anne Hathaway, Robert Redford and Jessica Chastain all went there. I saw they were holding auditions so I thought why not? I thought it would be a good experience.
WHAT DID YOU HAVE TO DO FOR YOUR AUDITIONS?
They held auditions in London, a few places in Europe and all over America as well. So you had to send a standard personal statement, a dramatic reference so I got one from my drama teacher and a personal reference from someone who knows you. I went down to the Prince of Wales theatre in London. I did two monologues, a classic and a contemporary one, then I had an interview.
My classical one was Portia from The Merchant of Venice and the contemporary one was from DNA by Dennis Kelly.
HOW DID YOU FIND THE AUDITION? WERE YOU NERVOUS?
I’d written it off in my head I think. I had spoken about it with family and friends and I thought they do let you audition but I am really young and they are auditioning all over the world, I just thought it was really unlikely I would get in.
People kept saying that it would be a good experience and if you don’t get in this year, try again next year. It meant I didn’t have all the nerves. I wasn’t so nervous because I just didn’t think I’d get in.
BUT TWO WEEKS LATER YOU HEARD THAT YOU HAD BEEN SUCCESSFUL. HOW DID YOU FIND OUT?
It was an e-mail initially but they also sent a letter which came later. It was very exciting. I was in bed and I woke up and checked my phone. They must have sent the e-mail during the night with the time difference. The e-mail said, you’ve been accepted, and I was like, what? What? Actually? I had to read it a few times before I accepted it was real. And I ran downstairs and told my family. They are really delighted.
SO IT’S THE LA CAMPUS THAT YOU WILL BE GOING TO.
Yes, it’s two blocks away from Sunset Boulevard. It’s on the back lot of the old Charlie Chaplin studios so it’s very in the middle of it all.
SO WHAT HAPPENS NOW?
Schools in America are very expensive. Obviously you have to apply for a visa and within that you have to prove, if for example you are a student, that you can afford to study and you have the funding available to live.
You don’t have to prove you have all the funding but just the promise of funding or enough people supporting you. And then my tuition fees, they can be paid in full or in two lots across the year. The tuition fees are around £29,000 and then you’ve got accommodation and living fees on top of that.
I got a $6,000 scholarship from the school, which is just over £4,000.
WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO YOU TO GET THE FUNDING AND GO OVER THERE?
It’s hard to put into words because opportunities like this don’t come around that often. It’s so much money but at the same time it is what I want to do for the rest of my life and I think you do have to invest in your future, you’ve got to do everything you can do to give yourself the best chance. This school has such an amazing background and the people who have gone to it have been so successful. I would give anything to go there.
To help Rebecca achieve her goal, visit https://crowdfunding.just