For musical theatre performer Hannah Wheeler spending five weeks honing her craft in New York is more than a dream come true.
Wheeler, a 26-year-old Cantabrian, has been accepted into the prestigious Stella Adler Studio Musical Theatre intensive course.
The course, a five-week summer programme held just off Broadway, will cost Wheeler $10,000. However, the price is fair when she considers the reward.
Not only will she study under some of the greats, she will make the contacts required to give her a real shot at making theatre her fulltime job.
"This is right in the thick of it all. It's full on," Wheeler said.
The school can count Hollywood legends Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro among its past students.
Wheeler has long been a performer in musical theatre, starring in The Mikado at The Court Theatre, White Rabbit Red Rabbit, and at shows around the world.
However, the course in New York will offer her a once in a lifetime chance to shake hands with some of her idols and form contacts in the industry.
Wheeler applied for the course when she met Broadway star Andrea Burns at a theatre course in Christchurch. She ended up opening Burns' show at Burnside High School's Aurora Centre.
Burns told her to audition for the course.
Before she knew it, Wheeler had been accepted and fundraising began in earnest.
This Sunday, Wheeler hopes to have raised the full $10,000. She is performing a concert, with six other stars of The Mikado, to raise the final funds needed for her trip.
"This is definitely my chosen career," she said. "I love performing. This is what I do."
Tickets to Hannah Wheeler In a New York State of Mind, Sunday, 7.30pm, can be bought through the Court Theatre.
- The Press