My name is Abbie Grimstad, from the Snoqualmie Valley, and I am heading into my final year of the BA Acting program at The Lir in Dublin, Ireland. I’ve been acting and doing various jobs in theatre since before I can remember. I started first in elementary school where I played George M. Cohan and sang ‘Give My Regards to Broadway’. I was a member of our local community theatre, The Valley Center Stage, and was heavily involved in productions throughout my middle school and high school days, as well as keeping involved in my school’s drama programs. I was involved in anything and everything musical and theatrical that I could be. After high school I attended Bellevue College, where I continued to follow my heart to the theatre, and in my first year there, I was in 7 different productions. I continued to take classes there and remained involved until I had taken every theatre course there was to take. Over the course of my time there, I was an Irene Ryan nominee twice, and competed in the Kennedy Center Theatre Festival Competitions. I was extremely fortunate that my next step after Bellevue College landed me in a production of Much Ado About Nothing with Seattle Shakespeare, where I was onstage with actors I had been watching and admiring for years.
Nearly three years ago, I finally worked up the courage and determination to follow my love and passion for acting and all things theatre by auditioning for The Lir, National Dramatic Academy of Ireland, at Trinity College Dublin. This program was started in 2011, in association with RADA in London, and from nearly 3,000 applicants each year they only accept 16 actors into their three year BA in Acting course. (And I got in!) I started my classical acting training in September 2016. The last two years of training have been full of challenges and surprises, I’ve been pushed far, far out of my comfort zone. I don’t think I’ve ever grown as much as quickly as I have over these last two years, both as an actor, and as a human.
It has been an incredible joy to be doing what I love almost 24/7. I’ve never felt as happy and fulfilled as I have when I’m in the midst of a crazy term, working on goodness knows how many different things. I am truly living my dream.
I knew at the beginning of this process that my heart and mind were fully ready, but financing was going to be hard. With $21,000 a year for tuition, along with at least $9,000 for living expenses, loans were the only option. I’ve been able to take out Federal loans and private loans to cover my first two years, along with help from my family and friends, but by this point, those avenues have been exhausted. As this year comes along, I’m $10,000 short. I am hoping I can cover some of this by working alongside rehearsals for each show, but as we don’t know what exactly the next year brings, I don’t have a way to guarantee I’ll have time outside of our hectic schedules to work enough to manage.
I’m reaching out to you for help. Before starting this training, I knew theatre was my passion, and I knew I wanted to tell stories. And so far, this training has infused within me the ability to create and collaborate, and the tools with which to transform, and I cannot wait to step out of this training ready to create new work and share it with the world.
I will keep this page open during the year, so if it isn’t possible for you to give now, if there does come a point, it’ll be here. I’m hoping to raise as much as I can before January to take care of the second half of tuition.
Thank you so very much for taking the time to read this. I would love to share even more stories of my times past and times to come at The Lir with you. I would appreciate beyond words any help you would be able to give.
￼The Lir, National Academy of Dramatic Art, at Trinity College Dublin
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