Off on a big adventure

ELIZABETH Hall is ready.

The 19-year-old from Taree will spread her wings this month and head to California to study a six-month Hybrid Conservatory Course at the TVI Actors Studio in Los Angeles.

She's secured a part-scholarship and worked up to three jobs at a time to help save for her tuition and other expenses, as she won't be able to work due to her study visa conditions.

"I'll be there for seven months. The first half of the course is learning the craft and all the techniques and the second half is working on two big showcases and with casting directors, directors, agents and managers.

"They come and watch ... and see if you are what they are looking for."

Her next big adventure comes on the heels of the successful Taree Arts Council musical Cabaret, for which she was co-choreographer and also cast as the Kit Kat Klub girl Rosie.

Liz's hard work and abundance of talent was recognised by the theatre company, who awarded her the annual David White Memorial Award at the production wrap party, a $500 prize she can put towards her travels.

"I was shocked and very teary. I couldn't stop crying. I'm just very blessed."

She met David's mum Noelle and said she wanted to do the award justice.

"She said she was glad to see it going to someone who is willing to have the courage to go further than Taree."

For Liz, it is about taking an opportunity and seeing where it takes her.

"I don't want to leave anything to chance or regret. I want to say I did it and I had a go. I want to leave that example."

She's under no illusions about how tough the entertainment industry can be.

Her main goal is to soak up as much as she can from the course and, hopefully, secure a manager and an agent.

"It's such a hard industry to get into and I completely understand the expectations of this job. There are a billion other people wanting the same thing you are.

"You have to be what they are looking for to get a part."

She is aware it will be challenging and her determination will be tested.

"It's very tiring to keep at the same goal and dream when you work so hard and have to have people that believe in you.

"I'm lucky to have a day job but I can't wait to wake up and just perform - just do a role.

"My main goal is to be so successful that people want to work with me ... when people ask me what's my job I can say "I'm an actor."

Liz is supported by her family who are assisting in every way they can (she will also be living with a relative while in the US) but she is determined to do what she can for herself.

The teen moved around a lot with her family when she was younger, including a stint in Taree.

They lived in Wauchope for some years but, sadly, her father passed away in 2009 and the family moved back to Taree to be near family.

At that time Liz started year 10 at Taree High and dancing at the Studio One Performance Centre with principal, and now good friend, Krystle Molloy-Louis.

It was here she started taking her dancing more seriously.

Two years ago she started helping teach classes and has grown very fond of the student dancers.

Her passion for musical theatre came from her involvement in the Taree Arts Council productions of Miss Saigon, The Full Monty and Cabaret, where she said the people she has met have made an impact.

From those experiences Liz discovered she was not only interested in dancing, but was able to sing and act.

"It's enabled me to do what I'm doing."

Liz has studied several NIDA summer courses, was a featured extra for two short independent films, gained experience in commercial work and has sung at the Australian opera house as a featured artist and within a group.

With her life experience and the support of many people behind her Liz said she is determined to make the most of the opportunity.

"I'm not going on a holiday. I've worked so hard within myself to feel secure, confident and empowered to go over there."

She leaves on January 20 and will start her course in February.

"I'm going to try my luck but I do plan to come home. It depends on how I go over there."

If she manages to get an agent she could have a working visa in the US for three years.

If not, she is contemplating an audition for WAAPA (Western Australia Academy of Performing Arts) on her return.

At the end of the day she just wants to perform.

"Telling someone's story, making them forget what's happened in their day, making them feel they can do anything ... It's why I want to do this and what inspires me."

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