My name is Alice McConnell and I am a writer and performer from London, UK. I recently learnt I had been awarded a top Merit Scholarship to study at the prestigious American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles and was absolutely elated and astounded!
The American Academy of Dramatic Arts is highly prestigious with an incredible alumni - among them, Grace Kelly, Jessica Chastain, Adrien Brodie, Ann Hathaway and Lauren Bacall to name but a few. To be awarded a Merit Scholarship on account of the strength of my audition was humbling and life-affirming.
This achievement is particularly poignant for me as what led to my application was experiencing a deep depression. Reconnecting with the arts, performance and the power of expressing the human experience via performance gave me strength and relief during a very difficult time in my life. In spite of feeling like I was 'nothing' at the time, the final audition was the happiest and most alive I could remember feeling. Using hope and strength, I was rewarded with this life-changing opportunity and tremendous hope for a bright and purposeful future. This achievement and opportunity inspires hope for the future, and proves we can always push beyond current circumstance and create the new.
Having fought so hard, the remaining obstacle between bringing this achievement to fruition is garnering the final funding beyond my Academy Scholarship. My Merit and Honours Scholarship awards still leave a substantial deficit in sums required to fulfil my International Student visa requirements. Obviously I am working my butt off to save, and have researched different options exhaustively, however I am unable to generate the required funds with my personal income and savings alone.
With annual tuition fees at $35,750 and campus living expenses at $15,000 (plus additional living costs), I am humbly appealing for the support of sponsors and patrons who support my journey, and believe in the power of achievement and the strength of human spirit above restricted circumstances.
I wholly understand that this is a large sum, but any contribution no matter how small, really helps me to fulfil this opportunity and I am so, so grateful for any support.
Something that kept me going during my darkest hour, and provided inspiration for my journey, was Viola Davis’ incredible Oscar’s 2017 acceptance speech:
“You know, there's one place that all the people with the greatest potential are gathered. One place. And that's the graveyard. …And I say exhume those bodies. Exhume those stories. The stories of the people who dreamed big, and never saw those dreams to fruition...I became an artist and thank god I did because we are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life.”
Any support or pledges from inspired sponsors will enable me to live this incredible opportunity and fulfil my potential. We only live once, and our time is limited - and I fully hope to spend my time on this earth being the very best I am able to be, fulfilling every opportunity and helping and inspiring others. I promise I will keep every name and when I get to where I want to go I will find a way of showing you what you are a part of. This opportunity means the world to me, and YOU would be the maker of this reality - my gratitude is infinite.
My ultimate aim with being able to live this achievement is to be able to combine my writing experience with performing to create projects that may connect with, inspire and reach people on a much larger scale; the way in which films and artists helped me during very difficult times. I’ve lived a life and wish to use this experience to help and inspire others. The selective prestige of the AADA training, it’s superb industry reputation and location provides a path and invaluable platform for this vision.
Always a committed straight-A student, I trained with LAMDA as a child and teen. Following graduation from the Courtauld Institute of Art I was accepted to the Royal Court Young Writers Programme, writing for stage. During my 20s I worked as a producer and reporter, and freelance creative and ghostwriter. I also performed regularly as a Stand Up Comedian on London’s comedy circuit, leading to performances at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and private events and writing for television. I also studied ballet and qualified as a Pilates instructor in 2015 which further enhanced my love and interest for dance and the power of movement. The Academy programme allows me to combine my skills, experience and passions and I hope to truly make an impact on the lives of others.
THANK YOU to everyone who has encouraged and supported me so far. Your positivity, faith and love is my everything. Here’s to living an inspired and purposeful life and to the future!
Thank you so much.