A first-year Musical Theatre student at Edge Hill University has spoken of how her scholarship is helping inspire her towards achieving the goal of a career on the West End stage.
Eliza Hall (19) from Speke, a former pupil of Parklands and Gateacre High Schools, was the 2018 Liverpool Scholarship winner.
The award was instigated by the university to celebrate the awarding of the Freedom of the City of Liverpool in 2012, with up to £3,000 given to the city’s best-performing student who wins a place at EHU.
“It will help fund further classes, masterclasses and theatre experiences that will continue to inspire and educate me in performance”, Eliza revealed. “I’m so grateful for this scholarship as it’s shown me how hard work pays off. Thanks to this I now have more belief in what I can do.”
Although still early days in her degree, Eliza has her eye on the prize of a career in acting – via The Big Apple…
“I’d love to study abroad for my masters in New York. The ultimate dream, and I’m sure it is for many others, is the West End and Broadway. If I can perform for a living, that’s my dream come true regardless of where – Broadway would just be the cherry on top!”
Indeed, Eliza has already had a taste for performance in the world-renowned Midtown Manhattan district, singing at Ellen’s Stardust Diner (“I even sang my Edge Hill audition song Losing My Mind from the Stephen Sondheim Musical Follies!”).
A lifelong love of performing has been the catalyst to where Eliza finds herself now (“I’m pretty sure I was born doing jazz hands!”). Her mother performed in duo ‘Katch Uz Two’ with her uncle, her brother was in a band called ‘Osiris’ and a cousin also performed in school productions.
“I’ve been in the most musical family since the Von Trapps, and it’s been the best inspiration a young kid could’ve asked for.”
A guitarist since the age of 11, she started performing at Merseyside venues in her early teens including the Zanzibar, which eventually led to a regular section on Bay TV (now Liverpool TV) by the age of 16.
“It was a showcase of my four original songs: Afterlife, Voice Within, This Town and Melody. I’ve also played many Beatles celebrations at Penny Lane, which included John Lennon’s 75th birthday celebrations along with The Quarrymen.
“I studied music and drama at A Level and performed in every show at Gateacre. I caught the bug and felt at home on stage. I loved having the ability to make an audience laugh or cry by performing.”
Sixth form also saw Eliza complete her Grade 8 in both Musical Theatre and LAMDA, and a Level 3 BTEC in Music Technology. The experience and support of her teachers and fellow pupils has eventually led her to Edge Hill.
“I fell in love with the campus and the atmosphere at the university when I visited. It reminded me of every film about university I’d ever seen, it just felt right for me.”
It has proved the ideal location, a place she is able to enjoy her independence as well as stay close to her mother, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2018.
“It was a big priority, so I could spend time looking after her. She underwent months of treatment but seeing her be so strong throughout the whole ordeal has been one of the most inspiring things to me.
“In November she underwent a lumpectomy surgery to remove her now shrunken tumour which was a success, meaning she is now cancer free! After some more radiotherapy and treatment, she will finally be back to her previous self.”
Like her fellow students, Eliza had to come through a nerve-wracking audition before being accepted onto her course.
“I remember feeling really worried after because I was so scared I might not have got it. It was just self-doubt, but I really wanted it. The tutors and the panel were so lovely and warm and it was such a good experience that I really didn’t want to risk not getting in. I remember the sheer joy from not just me but my mum and dad when I received notification saying I’d been offered a place.”
As well as working on vocal and dance technique, plus Musical Theatre, Words and Music are among the next subjects to pursue – something which is right up Eliza’s street…
“I’m so excited for that as it includes songwriting, which I’ve done for as long as I can remember. I’m really looking forward to incorporating my skills from Music A Level such as playing guitar, ukulele and piano, and being able to showcase my original compositions within the course.”