Welcome to my CrowdFund page, thank you so much for your pledge.
Below are details about my rewards and my full story. I have a dedicated Mailing List for all my amazing CrowdFund community, which I would love you to join, as I share future opportunities here and stay in occasional touch with the people who helped me get where I am. Please click YES to Project Owner Marketing when pledging, this will allow me, and only me, to keep in touch and contact you about rewards.
Once you pledge, I will contact you to ask if you would like to receive a reward. There is no pressure to accept, if you just want to pledge and head on your merry way knowing you changed someone's life for the better then hurray! But I would really love to offer what I can in return for your generosity. Depending on your reward I will arrange a time via email for us to exchange, or I will add you to the mailing list for future free tickets or a lifetime of unlimited tickets!
Drama students often approach me because my journey is quite visible online, and they have questions that aren't answered in the books. Or perhaps you just need some reassurance from someone actually at a Drama School who knows the journey, and also has some good life wisdom to help you navigate what you need to emotionally and mentally to prepare for a positive audition experience. It can be speech coaching, or interview practice, or both and a talk or about your fears with someone who's had the same ones. Whilst I am studying a Masters - the process is a lot like a BA crammed into one year, and I was a professional actor and puppeteer for three years before coming to Drama School.
**A note for Drama School applicants whose parents/guardians/jobs cannot afford a £50 Pledge. Auditioning for drama schools as a working class regional-accented plus-size 2nd generation woman of colour was NOT a walk in the park! If, like me, you have had a bit of a tough life journey and need the kind of help I am offering, please pledge the smallest amount possible for you and leave a comment saying "I'd like to chat about rewards" - I will get in touch and we can have a free session. I would love to help you meet your dreams - as my crowdfund community have helped me meet mine.
Financial Breakdown: My Masters cost is £13,095. The Royal Conservatoire awarded me a scholarship of £3000. I have raised £4,305 through my previous crowdfund campaigns, and I have paid £2,230 through working alongside my Masters and during lockdown. This leaves £3560 - the very last leg of this journey!
Hello. I’m Shakara. I am currently training as an actor at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, one of the top three performing arts educational institutions in the world!
I am from a small town steeped in poverty, where trauma and closed mindsets put a sharp stop on my career, life and art path. Despite these factors working against me, I have lived an interesting and adventurous life, and found myself working as a professional puppeteer in 2017. Thanks to this career I saved enough to make it to drama school - but misfortune appeared in the shape of three broken bones, which triggered a year of severe mental illness. I have a condition called Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD is surprisingly common and anyone can develop this condition. I have the complex version because I have an above average number of childhood and adulthood traumas.
There went my savings as I struggled with the physical and mental impact of this event. After a year of triggered PTSD and healing from that, I was offered financial support to attend drama school - so I applied, and got in! At the same time, the offer of support fell through, and I was faced with a choice: don't go for my Masters, don't take a place at one of the top 5 drama schools in the UK (statistically more competitive than Oxbridge), or crowdfund my way through. My friends convinced me I could do this, and they helped...and continue to. I feel truly blessed.
Of course I had wanted to audition for drama school but had to leave home at 18, and couldn’t pay for auditions. £55-85 per audition is unreasonable, and closes the door to so many working-class actors. This is something I hope to change in the future – but I need to get there first.
It wasn't all doom and gloom - at 21 I moved to London and won a prestigious Jerwood Creative Bursary (funded by the Department for Culture Media and Sport & Arts Council England) to work in Cornwall with Kneehigh Theatre. I wrote this article for the Guardian all about my background, my experience there, and the importance of bursaries. I was asked to give the speech at the closing ceremony.
I still wanted to train, but I took family advice, ‘people like us don't get to do jobs like that.’ I worked and worked and worked – waiting for the magical day I would stop feeling out of step with the world.
And then I crashed. Literally. In a car, on the motorway.
Eight months later, in 2013, I was diagnosed with PTSD and was unwell for a further year. In a way this trauma was my biggest saviour as PTSD can lead to Post Traumatic Growth - discussed in a very interesting way in this Ted Talk - a phenomenon whereby you rebuild your world outlook with a new appreciation. Which is what I did.
I opened my world and went travelling, learned how to make good choices, and finally admitted that my gifts are best suited to taking an audience on an authentic journey and leaving them thinking and feeling.
I had connections across the globe and - though little training - lots of experience creating performance. So, from 2015-18, whilst saving for actor training, I also applied for project funding - and got it. I developed an idea that turned into a concept, which has been supported by the Arts Council of England and Slate : Eclipse.
People ask me if my passion is acting - my passion is using my voice, offering my unique perspective as a woman in between worlds. I am both brown and white, working and middle class, small town and world-travelled, damaged and healed. I have so much to say and a real voice with which to say it. A voice that needs training, honing, and cultivating. I feel so blessed to be receiving this at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, I have worked so hard to get here and so hard to stay. And now I promise you, I am working hard to make it to the finish line.
Telling you that I have a mental health condition, past traumas, and that I need financial support from outside my family is difficult and exposing. But that's what actors do, I think. Bravely go to places that aren’t easy, so they can hold an audience by the hand and take them along that gentle journey.
I don't have far to go. I've done and am doing the work. But I still need a little help to make it to graduation. Please pledge, and please share this CrowdFund to help get my message out there, and give people the chance to help someone in real need who will remember their generosity wherever she goes.
I hope you will pledge. And I hope my story will stay with you and bring you some comfort, or fire.
One last request: After pledging, please share this link on your own social media or forward to a few friends, it would really help to get my message out there. With thanks.