May 2018: Charity helps Abigayle with her acting dreams

Ex-student and budding actor, Abigayle Hames, has seen her dream come true thanks to a charity appropriately named Realising Dreams Foundation.

The 19-year-old from Bacup is nearing the end of her first year at MADD – Midlands Academy of Dance and Drama in Nottingham.

Fellow ex-HHS student Sam Chisnell, 18, from Crawshawbooth, is also at the college on the same three-year Musical Theatre diploma.

More than 500 auditioned for around 30 places and both Sam and Abigayle were successful.

Abigayle said: “I took both GCSE and A level Drama at Haslingden High School and I applied to different universities, but I always wanted to go to stage school.”

Our Head of Drama Mr. Anderson advised Abigayle that if she was serious about a career on the stage she was better to try to get into a drama school rather than go to a university.

She said: “I felt like if I didn’t get into MADD then this was not meant to be the career for me.”

After a gruelling day-long audition, Abigayle was delighted when she was informed that she had a place, and that she was able to get a scholarship towards the costs, however it still left £4,500 to raise each year.

Her parents Rob, chairman of Bacup’s Royal Court Theatre, and Catriona were delighted with their daughter’s success, but they knew the cost would have been too much for the family to fund each year.

She said: “I wrote to different sponsors and was rejected and then on Facebook I read about Realising Dreams so I applied.”

When she hadn’t received a reply, she contacted them, but rather than say she had been unsuccessful, Abigayle was informed that she had been granted £1,500 for each of the three years of the course.

She said: “I am also a senior mentor with the National Citizenship Scheme in Bury and that helps towards the cost.

“Without Realising Dreams I really would not have been able to go to MADD. They have helped me so much so I am trying to let as many people as possible know about the charity so they too will be able to realise their dreams.”

Abigayle and Sam both appeared in the pantomime Red Riding Hood at the Royal Court and she has also played Sandy in Grease, Alice in Alice in Wonderland, Rachel in Glee and Monique in Beauty and the Beast.

She attended four different drama schools, started acting at Bacup when she was 12 and has been learning musical theatre since the age of eight.

To find out more about Realising Dreams Foundation visit