James Costello Ladanyi

Waiting in the Wings for Bristol Old Vic

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Daniel Day-Lewis, Patrick Stewart…James Costello Ladanyi?

I am incredibly fortunate to have been offered a place at the prestigious Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in the United Kingdom. One of just three UK Drama Schools included in the distinguished Conservatoire for Dance and Drama collective, Bristol Old Vic is rated as one of the very best acting institutions in the world. 

The 'Masters: Professional Acting' program at Bristol Old Vic is highly selective.

The school accepts just fourteen students worldwide each year for the intense, year-long training course designed to prepare its students for the rigours of the professional acting industry. Bristol Old Vic has gained a reputation for producing outstanding young acting talent since its foundation by the great Laurence Olivier in 1946. Daniel Day-Lewis, Patrick Stewart, Jeremy Irons, Olivia Coleman, Mark Strong, Naomi Harris, Theo James and many other acclaimed actors trained at BOVTS before finding success across Theatre, Film and Television. 

How Did I Get Here?

Training at an international dramatic conservatoire has been my primary goal since finishing secondary school in 2013. I retained an incessant drive to make it happen throughout my Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and History at Victoria University of Wellington (2014-2016), and after graduating I worked, researched, planned and saved for fifteen months to make my goal a feasible possibility.

In March 2018 I rolled the dice, packed up my life in Wellington, and flew to the UK for auditions at seven different schools in five different cities. Thankfully, my years of planning paid off, and I was offered a place at my number one dream school: Bristol Old Vic.

The Value of Support:

The prestigious nature of Bristol Old Vic unfortunately comes with a large price tag. The fees for my training are £23,010, approximately $46,100 NZD. While I worked hard to save $20,000 in wages during 2017, I am still a long way off the funds I need to pay for my training.

A significant boost to my fundraising efforts was recently being awarded the 2018 Dame Malvina Major Foundation: Arts Excellence Award for the Wellington region. Being honoured with this $6,000 scholarship for "outstanding ability and development potential in the performing arts" is incredible financial support, however I still have a long way to go to cover the requisite course fees at BOVTS.

BUT I've made it easy for you to help!

I have launched this Boosted campaign to reach out to any family, friends, industry practitioners and potential philanthropists who might be able to give a small donation to my cause. My goal is to raise $4,000 over 50 days,  which will all go directly towards paying my course fees in September. Boosted is an all-or-nothing  platform, so I must hit my 4k target in order to receive the funds.

Any donation, word-of-mouth, or encouragement could make all the difference in helping me pursue my acting dream.

Ngā mihi & much love.

JCL xx




  • Boosted Complete- THANK YOU ALL!


    Dear Donors

    Wow, what a crazy fifty days it has been.

    It might surprise you to know that back in June, when I was considering different revenue streams to be put towards my Bristol Old Vic course fees, crowdfunding was actually at the very bottom of my list of ideas.

    I spent weeks and weeks applying for arts sponsorships, scholarships and grants; I wrote and posted letters, emails and sent inbox messages to industry executives, actors and cultural philanthropists. But for some reason, I didn’t really think of crowdfunding as a route that would reap any financial return. Why? I’m not entirely sure. Honestly, I probably just expected that people wouldn’t be interested enough in my journey to contribute their hard-earned money to a donation fund.

    How wrong I was.

    I am still completely overwhelmed by the volume of support and encouragement for my acting aspirations, and the financial generosity that family, friends and complete strangers have demonstrated. I wish I could thank every single one of you in-person for donating to my Boosted campaign. Sadly, the nature of being over here in Bristol for my training means that handshakes, hugs and drink-buying will have to be delayed, but I hope I have the opportunity to say thank you to you all in the flesh at some point soon.

    The money raised from my campaign will be directly sent to Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, helping to cover a substantial portion of my course fees. $5,095 is far more than I ever thought feasibly possible, and is going to make huge difference to what was a fairly dire financial situation a few months ago.

    Thank you all again so much, I hope to be able to pay the generosity forwards in the future.

    James xx

  • 5 Days left, and Three Weeks to go!


    Hey Everyone

    My Crowdfunding campaign has just five days left to go, and I am almost at my second target of $5,000!! What is just as exciting is that it is exactly three weeks until my training at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School begins.

    After fifty days of fundraising, six months in the UK, 18 months of saving and years of planning it is all about to come to fruition. 

    Cannot wait to get started!

    Thank you again to everyone for your ongoing support.

    James xx

  • Halfway Update!


    Hi Everyone!

    Today marks the one-half checkpoint of my fifty day campaign! I cannot reiterate enough how utterly amazed and humbled I am to have already passed my initial fundraising oal of $4,000.

    I am now just $200 short of my second goal- a whopping $5,000 towards my course fees at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School!

    Just a friendly reminder that my campaign has no upper limit, and every extra dollar will count towards my fees. If you have any friends or family that might be interested in contributing to the cause, please to send them the link to my Boosted page.

    Thanks all for now,

    James xx

  • Absolute Gratitude: 100% !!! (and the show goes on...)


    Dear Donors

    I was astounded to wake up on Wednesday morning (UK Time) to a variety of messages from friends and family congratulating me on REACHING 100% OF MY BOOSTED TARGET!!!

    The speed and success of this crowdfunding campaign has really opened my eyes to the astronomical level of support there is for this acting process that I am undertaking. I knew that people were generally interested in nature of my trip and my desire to pursue acting professionally, but I had absolutely no idea just how much everyone is backing me, willing me on and hoping for me to succeed.

    The financial generosity to this campaign has been far beyond my wildest expectations. To those who gave unnecessarily big donations- thank you for going far beyond any single dollar value I thought I might receive. And to those who donated whatever small amount they could spare- thank you even more. Giving to others when you don't have much yourself is an altruism found in the very best of people. Thank you; thank you so so much. I hope I can repay the favour one day in some form or another.

    But perhaps even more heart-warming than the financial side of this campaign has been the messages of support I have received over the last twelve days. From best friends, to complete strangers, the unanimous voice of encouragement for me to chase my goals has been quite honestly moving. It makes me miss New Zealand, Wellington and all the lovely people I had to say goodbye to in order to follow my passion. But I have never been more determined to succeed, and to make everyone proud.

    I should stress that the fundraising doesn't end here. My campaign will run the full 50 days (it is not even a quarter of the way through!) and my crowdfunding total has NO UPPER LIMIT.

    The next goal is $5,000!

    Every dollar that I make will continue to go directly toward paying my course fees (of which I still have some $30,000 left to pay by September 24th) so please continue to share the page with anyone who might be interested in contributing.

    One last thank-you must go to my loving friend Vanessa Immink who has given so much of her personal time to help me organise and run this crowdfund. Without her, this certainly would not have gone so unbelievably well. 

    Thank you all again, and much love from Bristol.

    James xxx

  • The Final Straight!


    Hey everyone!

    After just 11 days we have just crossed into the nervous nineties- over 90% of the way to my initial target!! 

    Thank you so much to everyone who has donated since my last Boosted update! The messages of support and generosity continues to blow me away. 

    My course starts in seven weeks and I'm only just starting to get my A into G with regards to prepping! Fortunately all the other students are still in  their home countries (Canada, Australia, Denmark, United States to name a few) so I have a cheeky jump on them. 

    Exciting times, made even more thrilling by the success of this campaign so far.

    Until the next update!

    James xx

  • CHECKPOINT!! 50% funding achieved!


    Hello everyone!

    I am absolutely ecstatic to have made it past the 50% fundraising mark- and in less than a week!!!

    Thank you so much to all the wonderful friends, family and strangers who have generously donated to my cause; the support has been truly overwhelming. 

    Here's hoping we can clear the second 50% over the next few weeks!

    Love to you all. <3

    James xx

  • Boosted Tax Credits: you get money back!


    Hello Wonderful Donors,

    Just a heads up that donations are eligible for a partial tax refund!

    Boosted is run by the Arts Foundation, which is a charitable trust. When a donor makes a donation to a project, they are legally making this donation to the Arts Foundation. When the project is successful, the Arts Foundation grants the funds to the project, and provides donors with a receipt that NZ tax payers can use to claim a 33% tax credit.

    Money Back to You!

    James xx