In July/August 2016, I had the incredible opportunity to travel to the UK thanks to the ROSL
Scholarship, which I was awarded at the 2015 Australian Singing Competition.
The provision of return flights to Europe, also enabled me to travel around Europe, seeing teachers
and coaches, before arriving in the UK to begin the scholarship. I am very grateful for the ROSL
staff, enabling me to be quite flexible with my travel dates.
I arrived in London on the 26th of July and was thrown into British entertainment history, with a trip
to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre for a performance of Macbeth. This was a fantastic first
experience in London, but my back was sore after standing for three hours!
The ROSL staff were incredibly hospitable and friendly from my first contact with them over email,
and were there to meet me at their London clubhouse upon my arrival. Both Eleanor and Geoff are
lovely people and I really enjoyed the chance to get to know them, especially the night they
escorted me to see “The Book of Mormon”- one of the best musicals I have ever seen! We had a
fantastic night and it was lovely to have friendly, laughing faces to watch it with!
It was not all fun and games, however! I had the opportunity to work with many wonderful artists
whilst staying in London. Particular highlights were coaching with Susan Stranders, David Harper,
Linnhe Robertson, Tom Randle and Gillian Keith. This not only gave me valuable musical
assistance, but also created or strengthened many ties in the UK, which are now particularly
handy, having moved to London! I think it is fair to say that it was in these coachings that I was
convinced that studying in London, particularly at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, would be a
sensible next move for me. So this scholarship did have a very large impact on my development as
a performer.
Part of the scholarship is a number of performing opportunities in London. One of these was a
lunchtime recital at St James Church Piccadilly, which has a fantastic acoustic and attracted a full
audience. I shared this recital with a fellow Australian Prize winner, Flautist Jonty Coy.
The other opportunity was an hour long recital at the ROSL Clubhouse. This was another great
opportunity, especially the chance to work with English Pianist Peter Foggitt, with whom I have
developed a good relationship. This concert was also well attended, and gave me a chance to
meet some of the ROSL patrons, as well as English music lovers.
The ROSL Clubhouse is a perfect place to stay, as it is in a very central location, within walking
distance of Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, The Thames and Covent Garden. I was also
lucky enough to be able to eat all my meals there (which were all delicious), use the concert hall to
practice in and have my clothes laundered, all part of the prize. I felt very spoilt!
Other notable highlights of my time in London were seeing Jesus Christ Superstar at Regent Park
Open Air Theatre, Queen of Spades (Tchaikovsky) at Holland Park Opera, attending the BBC
Proms and seeing all the sights that London has to offer.
The only disappointment of my time in London was the timing of it, as unfortunately, Royal Opera,
ENO and Wigmore Hall are all closed during July and August. So there was not an opportunity to
see shows at these world class venues.
From London I travelled to Edinburgh to take up the second part of the scholarship; a week in
Edinburgh and the opportunity to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Edinburgh is a very different place to London, especially when you are greeted by the majestic
Castle that overlooks the city. Much of the city is very old which, combined with the fantastic
Scottish accent that one overhears, creates a rather unique vibe.
Visiting Edinburgh during its busiest time of the year, probably didn’t lend itself to seeing the “true”
Edinburgh- but it sure was a fantastic time to be there. The place was so busy, with so many things
to see and do. It was also fantastic to be based at the ROSL clubhouse with many other talented
musicians from around the Commonwealth, whom were all performing in the “ROSL Arts: Music
and More” concert series. It was very nice to have people, similar to me to socialise with, whilst
also making fantastic music.
Thank you so much to the IFAC Australian Singing Competition and the Royal Overseas League
for this amazing opportunity. It really gave me a taste of what life in London would be like and has
led to me making the move to live and study in London.
I am thrilled to have had the opportunity and would heartily recommended this prize to future
finalists of the competition!