A Sunderland graduate is trying to raise £15,000 to fund her place at one of the most highly regarded theatre schools in the UK.

The fundraising will help 23-year-old Beth Tippins pay for the expenses of studying a Musical Theatre MFA (Master of Fine Art) at the Guildford School of Acting in Surrey.

She said: “Student finance only cover £11,000 of the £32,000 tuition fee required for the two-year course, so we’ve set up this fundraiser to take some of the pressure off my mam and dad, who are using their salaries to help fund my tuition. The money raised will also contribute to my rent, dance gear and headshots.

“I never imagined that I would be offered an opportunity like this, I’m over the moon, so reaching my target would honestly mean the world. I already have so many people who have shown amazing support and I couldn’t be more grateful. I’ve been so overwhelmed with how much people seem to care about my journey.”

Beth, from Wallsend, is following in the footsteps of her dad, a touring musician who introduced her to music and theatre.

She started taking her singing seriously around the age of 10, when she joined a local youth choir before going on to perform in theatres in her early twenties.

During her time at the University of Sunderland, Beth set up and managed After Dusk, an extra-curricular vocal group for her fellow students.

Beth, who graduated from the University with a degree in Performing Arts this summer, said: “Sunderland really lets you nurture and develop your skills and helps you learn new ones.

“I’ve covered the whole spectrum and became a bit of a triple threat during my studies and, as a bonus, I even had a chance to develop my musicianship by taking on the role of assistant musical director for our final musical.

“Lots of the modules cover the audition process and technique, which is extremely useful for drama school and job applications. I feel like the course is the perfect bridge to discovering your identity as a performer and students who go into this course with a willingness to learn about themselves and where they can fit into the industry will benefit greatly from the degree.”

Sarah Riach is Principal Lecturer and Team Leader for Media and Performance at the University of Sunderland.

She said: “We are delighted that Beth has gained a place at Guildford School of Acting.

“Beth is an exceptionally talented student and has demonstrated this throughout her time on the Performing Arts programme. If the past three years are anything to go by, we know that Beth will be amazing, and we look forward to hearing about her next steps.”

So, what does the future hold for Beth?

“I see myself hopefully earning enough money to be able to have a tortoise sanctuary!” she said.

“In all seriousness, I want to be a working actor/musician as a part of the industry I love. I’d love to develop my teaching skills so I can be a private vocal coach, and you never know, with this MFA under my belt, I might even spend a year teaching in the USA.”

Beth will be performing at the Innisfree Sports and Social Club in Longbenton on Saturday, August 21st, with the money from ticket sales going towards her fundraising target.

More information about the event and how to make a donation can be found here.