Arts student Beth set to follow stars

Beth Murray with one of her paintings
Beth Murray with one of her paintings

A STUDENT from Hartlepool has been offered a place at a prestigious London arts academy which has nurtured stars such as Amanda Holden and Twiggy.

Town girl Beth Murray, 18, a student at English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College, applied for a place at Mount View Academy of Theatre Arts, in North London, in the hope of continuing her stage set and design studies there after finishing her A-Levels.

Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda and model Twiggy Lawson, widely regarded as the first-ever supermodel, were both students at Mount View, while actress Dame Judi Dench is the current president.

Naturally, Beth, from the town centre area of town, was “delighted and shocked” to be accepted.

And she spent the whole day jumping around” when she found out she had been plucked from hundreds of applicants from up and down the country for one of 30 places at the academy.

Beth’s performing arts teacher, Debbie Hayes, said: “We are all absolutely delighted for Beth as students there are looked upon as extremely talented and among the best in the country in this field.

“She’s been accepted and given an unconditional offer which means that they want her regardless of her results.

“The lecturers who interviewed her saw something in her and saw her technical ability in stage set and design.”

She added: “It’s an amazing opportunity for her. The talent and ability you’ve got to have to get into a school like that is of a really high standard.

“But Beth has demonstrated it and it is testament to her that she’s been accepted.”

Beth’s interest in stage design started with performances at school, and then studies in art and photography.

Mrs Hayes said that due to Beth’s design skills she developed a love for theatre design, “realised she was good at it” and went on to create concepts for the school show.

After that she applied for a place at the academy and was invited for an interview where she showed off a portfolio of her work and carried out a presentation. They obviously instantly recognised her creative ability and wanted her at their academy,” said Mrs Hayes.

“It’s one of the best, if not the best, institutes in the UK.”

Beth, however, now needs to start fundraising and looking for potential sponsors to help fund the £10,000-a-year tuition fees for the academy, where she will study for two years and do work experience on West End shows.

She is hoping to sell tickets to people to watch her perform, hold some cake sales and sell some of her paintings to stump up the cash.

Mrs Hayes said: “There aren’t many opportunities like this for students in the North-East because of the financial implications.

“It would be really appreciated if anyone with connections with the arts, or who supports the arts, could help out.”

Anyone who would like to sponsor Beth should contact English Martyrs School and Sixth Form college on (01429) 273790.