Pierce Meehan, 24, has been offered a place at the renowned London Studio Centre to study a BA in Theatre Dance. Due to Scotland’s student funding policies however, he will not get a loan to cover the first year’s tuition fees – leaving the Mountblow man to raise £15,000.
Now the public – who saw him lead Glasgow dance troupe Fear of the Unknown to the final of Sky One’s Got to Dance contest in February – are set to again lend their support to the Clydebank dance star. A champagne reception, featuring “buff butlers” will greet guests to a lavish fundraising event tonght (Friday, August 3).
The evening includes an Anne Summers stall, a Tarot Card reader, live entertainment and of course a DJ - all for just a £5 entry fee. It takes place at Yates Wine Lodge at 134-136 West George Street, near to Glasgow Central Station and doors open at 7:30pm.
Pierce told Clydebank Live: “It is guaranteed to be an absolutely amazing night. The entertainment has mostly been designed to appeal to ladies – I can confirm the buff butlers are straight and single - but everyone is very welcome.
“Staging an incredible night for people to enjoy seemed a good idea as I have to raise £12,700 in just nine weeks. I’ve really appreciated the support from people in Clydebank and across Glasgow – the backing they gave Fear of the Unknown was unbelievable.
“I hope as many people as possible will be able to turn out tonight. Tickets are available on the door and it’s right in the heart of the city centre, so even if you have plans to go out later on it’s a great way to start the night.”
To achieve his dream career as a professional dancer, Pierce has been working four separate jobs in order to save money for his university tuition fees. He currently works as an instructor at two separate dance schools, as a dancer in nightclubs and also a sandwich maker in Subway.
Unlike those studying in Scotland, students moving to universities elsewhere in the UK have to pay the same tuition fees as residents of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. While student loans are usually available to cover these, Pierce is not eligible for support during the first year of his course as he studied an HND at Anniesland College.
The tuition fees are far higher than even the maximum available through a career development loan – a joint scheme run by the UK government and banks to help those who do not qualify for standard student funding. Taking the maximum available – around £10,000 – and raising the rest is also not an option, as repayments on career development loans start after one year, regardless of whether the person is still doing the course.
Despite an incredibly demanding work and training regime, Pierce remains focused on his goal and is enthusiastic about the event. He added: “Doing all this can be stressful but it will be worth it to reach the London Studio Centre.
“The degree course there is the best there is – it would make me a much better teacher and give me a real chance at a career as a West End performer. I’m excited about this event and really looking forward to it: It’s going to be a banging night!”
Any businesses interested in sponsoring Pierce to take his place at Britain’s best dance academy can get in touch with him via email. He can be reached at email@example.com, or alternatively by contacting Clydebank Live.