Eighteen-year-old Katelyn Greenwood was so nervous in the run up to her first audition at Stella Mann College of Performing Arts  that she had to force herself to take the train from her home in Bournemouth to Bedford where the school is based.
It was lucky she did make the journey though, because she soon received a letter offering her a place and one of the college’s 50% scholarships. However, before she could even take that news in, Katelyn answered a crucial phone call, as she explains: “I hadn’t even expected to get a place, so when I was asked back to audition for the full scholarship I couldn’t believe it.
“A few days after the second audition I was offered the 100% The Stage/Stella Mann College award. My mum and I had worked out that the only way I was going to afford to go was if all my fees were paid, so I was incredibly grateful.”
This is the fifth year Stella Mann has offered a scholarship in association with The Stage, and from September it will be Katelyn’s turn to train for three years at one of the UK’s most renowned dance institutes without having to pay a penny in tuition fees. The whole package is worth an amazing £28,035.
The three-year diploma in performing arts provides a training that is second to none with some of the best facilities available. Principal Mary Breen says:
Our course provides an unparalleled diversity of professional training in many dance disciplines and musical theatre skills, which gives our students great versatility and access to a very wide range of employment opportunities upon graduation. We have had graduates secure excellent work in areas as diverse as commercial dance, West End musicals, Hollywood films, pop groups and high profile TV series.
Katelyn started studying dance locally when she was six, first at the Stage Door School of Dance and Drama, and then, from the age of 11, with teacher Katie Gill at the Prompt Corner Academy of Dance.
She joined the latter when the school was being set up and is the first Prompt pupil to go off to drama school.
More recently she has been studying a BTec level three extended diploma in performing arts (dance) at Bournemouth and Poole College, where she has been able to work on a whole new range of different dance styles.
At first the young dancer felt intimidated about moving on to the next stage at such a high-profile school, but explains how welcoming it was: “Everyone was so nice, and because it’s quite a small school, it is such a comfortable place to be. You always feel included and treated like an individual, it feels like home.”
Up until now, Katelyn has concentrated purely on dancing, and not been able to gain much experience in acting and singing, but the staff at Stella Mann told her to not be worried:
I am looking forward to training in those others disciplines and becoming an all-round performer. I spoke to a student already at the college who said she felt she couldn’t sing when she started at the school, but her confidence had grown considerably during the time she had spent there.
Breen has no doubt that Katelyn is the right person for The Stage/Stella Mann College Scholarship 2014: “Katelyn was an outstanding candidate. She has great ability and huge potential.”
The whole experience has been a massive confidence boost for Katelyn and she is quick to thank everyone involved. “I never thought I would get an opportunity like this, it’s something I have been aiming for all my life. I am so thankful to The Stage and Stella Mann and so grateful to my mum for her constant support and for always for telling me I can do it.”