Charlotte enjoys an adventure in the Big Apple

Charlotte Taylor who is studying at the American Academy of Performing Arts in New York.

Charlotte Taylor who is studying at the American Academy of Performing Arts in New York. - Credit: Nick Butcher

A teenager who is living the dream in New York City after winning the opportunity of a lifetime to study at a prestigious stage school has reflected on her first semester as she spends Christmas back home in Suffolk.

The view from outside Charlotte's window of Times Square.

The view from outside Charlotte's window of Times Square. - Credit: Archant

Charlotte Taylor, from Beccles, was just 19 when she won a place at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts whose alumni include Grace Kelly, Robert Redford and Anne Hathaway.

Despite having never been out of the country before, Miss Taylor set off for the USA in August and has adapted well to life in the Big Apple.

She said: “I love living over here. It’s such an amazing city.

“It was hard getting used to all the noise when I went to bed as I live in the middle of New York and there is a lot of traffic passing by and there is a lot of sirens going off day and night.

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“I love walking around New York and taking it all in - it’s beautiful this time of year with all the colours.”

Miss Taylor’s passion for acting began in middle school and she eventually took drama and theatre studies and performing arts at East Norfolk Sixth Form College in Gorleston before auditioning for the academy.

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Her first semester has included acting, voice and speech, movement, script analysis and theatre history, and although it’s hard work, Miss Taylor said she had learnt so much.

“We have been looking in detail how to use the voice and how to connect it to the speech, also how to use your voice on stage to project without damaging your vocal chords and all about accents and where they sit in the mouth, which is really interesting and exciting,” she said.

“I haven’t lost my English accent yet but I am saying certain phrases and words in an American accent without thinking.”

Miss Taylor has made friends with a number of American students and she has spent time with them and their families in New Jersey and Long Island, including Thanksgiving when she joined them to watch the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.

She said: “I really do miss home, some times more than others.

“I mostly miss my mum and dad’s hugs, especially as we are a very close family, but it’s ok because I talk with them every day on Skype.

“I also miss my dog Max and my kitten Nero.”

Miss Taylor has already met some former students who are currently working on Broadway and while she would love work in the USA, she is also keen to return to the UK at the end of her three-year course and try and work with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon.

The Academy was founded in 1884 and attracts students from around the world and as a group, its alumni hold more than 103 Oscars and 266 Emmy awards, with numbers growing each year.

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