Funding drive pays off for Wigan teenager

Lucy in classic pose
Lucy in classic pose

A young Wigan dancer who crowd-funded to do her foundation year at her dream place of study has hot-footed it to a place on the degree course.

Lucy Eccles, will now spend three years at Liverpool Institute of the Performing Arts (Lipa) as one of a handful of her cohort from the introductory year picked to become an undergraduate.

Lucy at the DW

Lucy at the DW

However, talented Lucy very nearly didn’t make it to Lipa at all as her family found the £9,000 tuition fees for the foundation course, for which no financial help is available, beyond their means.

However Alan Gregory, creator of the Beyond Wigan Pier musical which Lucy was in, stepped in and suggested asking generous arts fans to get her on her journey.

She has now repaid them in spades by getting onto the full course while Alan says her success is proof there is working-class talent in places like Wigan potentially having careers in culture thwarted by money concerns.

Lucy, 18, said: “The foundation year was lots of hard work but I really enjoyed it.

“On the full degree course I will get to do masterclasses with professionals and performance opportunities.

“It’s exciting and it all started with the crowd-funding.

“I wouldn’t have been able to take the foundation year and get on to this degree if it wasn’t for that so I’m really thankful for all the help I have received.

“After studying I would like to go into a contemporary dance company.”

Lucy has also received huge support from the Wigan Warriors academy rugby league players she has taught ballet through the Pianos, Pies and Pirouettes project Alan co-founded.

Alan said: “Lucy’s success shows that if you invest in people in the arts it’s not a waste of money because they are so determined to do what they want to do.

“She is a star of the future, of that there is absolutely no doubt. What we want to do is fund these kids who can’t afford to study to get into the whole world of performance. We are here for the young people of Wigan and want to create these pathways for them.”

Lucy’s foundation course involved studying a wide range of dance styles as well as written work.

She has wanted a career in the arts since she was 12 and dances at Tina’s Studio in Springfield.