John Moran Educational - Trust Making financial awards to support the entry into higher education
Student Profiles

The Trust has made awards to over forty two deserving students from the Merseyside region since it was set up in 2003. Here’s more about what these students did with their awards, and what it meant to them:

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I am 27, which I suppose you would call a mature student when compared to your average age of starting a degree; so I am often met with people saying things like “Oh you’re too old to go back to university” or “Go and get a propa job!”  Such comments are always met with great optimism, as I feel in the nine or so years that I have chosen not to study, I have gained a wealth of experiences in my life. It has been filled with trial and error in mostly unsatisfying jobs. This ultimately made me seriously consider what I want to dedicate my time to and in what career.  

I have lived in Liverpool my whole life and I am always filled with great pride and optimism in witnessing the futuristic architecture being developed, which I feel has had a lasting influence on our art and cultural heritage over the past decade. This growth has inspired me in deciding to study here at the Paul McCartney performing arts institution LIPA, as opposed to somewhere down south. I really do feel Liverpool is a hot-spot for the performing arts sector outside of London at the moment, and will continue to grow in years to come. At LIPA, I will be studying for a BA Hons in Theatre and Performance Technology, to become a Stage Manager for large scaled events such as Glastonbury, the London West End and Commercial Touring Bands or Musicians. I am eternally grateful for the John Moran Trust in allowing me access to this grant. I know that this will help me purchase state of the art equipment and software, enabling me to practice technical skills and tools from the get go at home. This will be of great benefit when I graduate and enter the professional world. It will also help towards food and living costs, as my degree sounds pretty demanding and so fitting a job around it is going to be a struggle.

I have always had a passion for the performing arts and from as early as 2004 I was engaged in the industry in pretty much all aspects. When I was 16 I was fortunate enough to gain a role as a main actor in a BBC Drama called The Singing Cactus. This opportunity gave me an insight into the professional world and I suppose ignited a fire within me to eventually do this professionally, but rather as a crewing role behind the scenes instead of acting. During my early teens I also worked voluntarily as a sound technician and stage manager for touring companies which then led me to go to college where I completed a BTEC National Diploma in Performing Arts gaining a triple Distinction grade. Unfortunately, due to financial difficulties I had to make the decision to get a full time job and not pursue the performing arts industry, something I deeply regret. Luckily though in more recent years, I have been fortunate enough to connect with people outside of work who run events, and so I have seized every opportunity I can to start progressing back into the industry. Within the last two years I have been part of a growing team that together have successfully created an independent arts festival. My role as part of this team has varied from lighting and sound checks, setting up big stages and sound equipment, scheduling slots for performers and making sure things run smoothly to a tight schedule – stuff I had to draw from in my previous experience during my younger days. These are all things that my degree will consist of and more, and so having the opportunity to practice before hand has refuelled my passion in wanting to do this for a living.

I feel very strongly that I will succeed in pursuing this career path. My extensive experience throughout my childhood and early adult life has given me a strong foundation of knowledge in how to network and build on my enterprise so that I can manage myself eventually as a freelance professional.  These qualities I know will benefit my career choice, and I know I will do the best I can to achieve a first class degree and successfully start working upon my graduation. The support from the John Moran Trust will no doubt help me achieve this and I thank you again from the bottom of my heart for such a great opportunity.

I have completed my first year at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts in my degree which is focused on the broad technical requirements of a live show and I can honestly say that the John Moran Trust has helped me massively during my first year. My degree consists of learning extensively all the technical elements required in planning, execution and clearing away all genres of events and shows. We have classes in fitting lighting fixtures and the health and safety of how to do this well, lighting design and how to know what type of lamps work best for each show, lighting operating and management, sound reinforcement which is a whole study on the science of sound and how acoustics work, sound operating and how to successfully work with a broad range of microphones and instruments, stage and production management and how to strategically manage a big scale event or production and the design and construction of sets and props for theatrical shows. With all of these technical classes, to gain a full understanding and to prepare us for work after graduation, we have to buy all sorts of tools and software so that we can master how to use them safely in our own time and on shows in and out of LIPA. Without the John Moran trust I would have struggled hugely in affording to purchase these as I am a mature student having to work part time around my degree to get by financially. The money from the trust helped me build my collection of tools that I use on shows throughout the year and it has also helped towards the purchase of transport and food during my first year.

I am now ready to start my second year of study and really look forward to going back in September to start developing professionally for graduation. In my first year I received two firsts in the subjects I would like to now specialise in and received 2:1 for everything else. It is only going to get harder in second year and I feel I am ready for the challenge. The money that I receive from the Trust is going to go towards a decent laptop so that I will eventually be ready to manage myself as a freelance engineer. I will have to master certain software at home so that I give myself a competent skillset for future employers and so the funds from the trust have given me a great chance to exercise this. I am proud and express my deepest gratitude for receiving this award, you have really helped me work towards and achieve my dreams for which I am eternally grateful

I have just completed the second year of my degree at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, specialising in Theatre and Performance Technology. During the first term of this year, and with the John Moran Trust fund, I used the money towards an Apple MacBook Pro, a laptop which helped me in my chosen vocational practice in “Sound Specialism”. I also purchased a professional Zoom recorder so that I could record sound effects, or use when recording for shooting of a film for instance (which I used for a short film I made with some third years during December 2016).

 I had decided after learning and taking roles in my first year at LIPA in many different areas of the discipline that my strengths and passions lay in the realms of Sound Engineering and more predominantly, Sound Design. Without the John Moran Trust, I would not have been able to excel in this field during this term, as the laptop was paramount with only certain industry used software applications being made for apple computers. This really set me ahead during the rehearsals of a show I was being assessed on, in that I was given the role of sound designer and also system designer (this is where you design the choice of speakers and their placement, what desk to operate the show on, how to patch all the cables to route to the desk and also to design how the image of sound would be focused in the space to name but a few of the roles of the system designer).  With having my MacBook, I was able to build soundscapes and effects during rehearsals with the director and more impressively was able to operate these sounds from my laptop as if we were under show conditions (this was using an apple only software called Q-Lab – an industry application that is free to download a basic unlicensed version with limited use and is almost always used whenever you go to see a West End show, or even smaller scale performance). This set us ahead massively and I learnt SO much from this experience that it really inspired me in the potential I could have in creating sound effects for a professional theatrical production. I received a grade 70 for this module, which is a first class grade. The grade really did reflect how much I enjoyed the module and also how much I had learnt in doing this as if it were a professional show outside of the “safe” environment of LIPA.

The continuance of my second year focused on me going to London for a week of seminars led by leading Sound Designers who have designed big shows like “Harry Potter & the Cursed Child – West End”, “Dreamgirls – West End”, and “The Encounter- by Complicite” to name a few. We had the opportunity to speak directly one to one with professionals and to also network and get to know other people in the industry for advice and tips on sustaining a career in this field. I am now as a result a member of the Association of Sound Designers which opens up a whole network for opportunities of work for current application or for when graduate. All of this I don’t think would have been accomplished if I hadn’t had this funding from the John Moran Trust and so I am eternally grateful for receiving this funding. I have finished second year with an overall 2.1 class mark, to which I am now even more focused and ready to push myself upon entering my final year so that I can aim to get that first I am hoping for. The skills I have learnt and continue to learn, will really set me with strong foundations in a career in many different aspects of the technical aspects of theatre shows or events with this degree I am taking. I feel I really would not have advanced as much as I have without this funding, so again thank you! You really have made my dreams start to come true. I am now so excited to be further expanding on what I have learnt in my second year, and can’t wait to start back in September for my final year.