June 2019: Musical Theatre degree beckons for Bethan

HOPES of a place on the West End stage have moved a lot closer for student, Bethan Nelson after she was accepted to study a BA Honours degree in Musical Theatre at Weston College.
Bethan, from Bacup, is just completing her A levels in dance, drama and psychology at Haslingden High School Sixth Form.
For the last five years she has been attending Bacup’s Dansworks Dance Academy of Performing Arts and she has currently achieved an Advanced 1 in ballet, intermediate in tap and jazz and a Star Award 3 in street.
Bethan, 18, said: “I had an audition at The Brighton Academy and they said they would let us know the following day, but nothing had come through.
“Then my mum checked the spam filter and the first thing the email said was ‘Unfortunately you have not got a place…’ but then it went on to say that they were offering me a place at another college they have partnership links with.”
Bethan and her mum Liz Hamilton contacted Weston College, in Weston-super-Mare, and were offered the chance to privately view the college before making a decision.
She said: “We went down on the Friday and by the Saturday night I knew I really wanted to go there.”
The college is linked to a university so she will be able to obtain a student loan to cover costs.
When she was 16, Bethan earned a place at Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, LIPA. Every Saturday she travelled to the academy for a year, but she retained her private lessons at Dansworks on a Thursday.
She said: “At Dansworks it is like you are a member of a large family; everyone supports each other and we offer constructive criticism when anyone is practising for a performance or an exam and if you need someone to talk to there is always someone who will listen.”
At one stage she was learning lines and dances for shows with Dansworks and LIPA at the same time alongside her A level dance and drama studies.
She said: “It was hard work but it was also good fun in a way. I was really interested in how the brain could work in so many different ways to remember everything.”
Principal of Dansworks Dance Academy Karen Roe said: “We’re so proud of Bethan and how hard she has worked for this; she always gives 110 per cent and that hard work has now been rewarded.”
Bethan started dancing when she was five at Rossendale Dance and Drama Centre and joined Bacup Youth Theatre and Entertainment Society at eight. She has appeared in many productions and pantomimes at the theatre.
Bethan said: “I was not pushed into dance. I found it was a way I could express myself. I am not very good at academic subjects so I prefer the practical and the creative and I understand how I can improve and how to get better in those subjects.”
Her dream roles would be Elphaba in Wicked, Mimi or Joanna in Rent or Miss Honey in Matilda.