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Marilyn's story: Performing Arts student

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Marilyn’s desire to seek new opportunities and experiences landed her in New Zealand. Marilyn is from Argentina, she has experienced change to her lifestyle, study options and mindset. Through this, her passion for music and performing stayed throughout. We go in depth on her foundations, the Prime Minister's Scholarship and her decision to double down and study her passion through Musical Theatre.

Foundations

Marilyn describes herself as a musical performer. Her passion for the three disciplines of singing, acting and dancing has been her foundation. For Marilyn, she was brought up around the arts and colourfulness of music and dance. Her parents were a major influence for this.

“My parents liked to play instruments. They always performed and celebrated through music for holidays, gatherings and birthdays. It was always a fun time”

She was involved in singing and dancing initially, but it was when she first watched High School Musical, where she drew inspiration for acting and musical theatre. She always wanted to know what they were saying. As someone who couldn’t understand much english, that influenced her to take english classes. Her journey in learning english had proved beneficial in the long run.

Schooling in Argentina

Marilyn spent high school and part of tertiary schooling in Argentina. In 2015, she began studying at a Musical Theatre community centre. Class times at the community centre were on Sundays for Marilyn, where she was learning the arts of performing.

Outside of her Sundays, she spent the rest of her week studying law. Marilyn was apart of some major performances at the community centre, appearing in the plays Dracula and the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Moving to New Zealand

At the end of 2016, the musical performer decided to leave Argentina and move to New Zealand. There were multiple reasons on why Marilyn wanted to move abroad, she wanted to travel, get new opportunities and experience new ways of living. At the time, she didn’t know if that was the right decision.

But the opportunity to travel and experience new cultures was a driving influence in her decision. Back at the age of 15, she had manifested a vision of her driving a car, speaking english in the sun across the world. Looking back at Marilyn’s vision, her decision to leave was part of her manifestation.

“I wanted to look out for other opportunities, and that brought me to New Zealand.”

When she arrived to Auckland, there was a transition to get herself settled in the country. She organised her visa, continued learning english and worked a job, on top of adapting to a new lifestyle. Growing up into adulthood, she felt the pressures of having to find a career that provided stable income, which is why she landed in monotonous jobs working a 9-5. This was no different in her move to Auckland, picking up an administration role in 2017.

Over time, she realised that this wasn’t fulfilling her and she wasn’t taking full advantage of her move to New Zealand. She had always gravitated to the arts world, but being in her late 20s, she doubted her willingness to study and thought it was too late to study. With the help of therapy and learning different perspectives, she understood that she always wanted to do music.

“When I went to therapy, she helped me realise I still have creative passions and that I needed to take control of that.”

Studying at Whitireia and WelTec

In 2022, she moved down to Wellington and enrolled in the Musical Theatre. She came across the programme with a quick Google search.

“For me, coming here was apart of accomplishing my dream”.

“I looked up the programme and found the course covered many things from monologues, musical theatre story, contemporary, classic acting and what to do and what not to do for auditions. I knew that I was ready for something like that and enrolled.”

She applied with an online audition and got accepted right away. The enrolments team worked with Marilyn to clarify fees, academic and visa requirements. Enrolling was a smooth process for her, especially with the help of enrolments.

The first year in the programme was about finding her feet in a new place. She also had to find a new job and connect with new people in her move to Wellington. The first year was challenging but very rewarding. She would attend classes then head to work afterwards. Her typical week included classes all day, then finishing the day off at work.

“I would go to work, but at the same time I knew tomorrow I would have ballet, I would have jazz. Classes that made me feel excited and made my time working all so worth it.”

The tutors were super supportive and welcoming from the get go. English was Marilyn’s second language, so she told her tutor that she was nervous in some areas like improvisation, monologues and essay writing. Her tutor made learning comfortable and reassured her throughout the learning process.

“Our tutor was onto it. She was pro-active and organised in structuring classes. And there was a clear outline for learning in every class.”

Marilyn approached her second year with more focus and intent. She became more polished in her dance technique and had gone from strength to strength. Currently in her third year, she is studying the Bachelor of Creativity (Musical Theatre). Looking back at the past three years of learning, she has seen massive progress in herself and her class mates.

As typical musical theatre students, the class group was very extraverted and energetic. For Marilyn, she was one of the older students with the class ranging from 18-25 years old. But she enjoyed being one of the oldest students, offering new ideas and perspectives in learning.

Being awarded the Prime Ministers Scholarship

At first, being awarded the Prime Ministers Scholarship didn’t feel real for Marilyn. It didn’t become real until she was at the ceremony. The Prime Minister’s Scholarship has enabled thousands of New Zealanders to broaden their horizons through life-changing learning experiences. Prime Minster Christopher Luxton was in attendance to gift a blessed taonga to Marilyn.

As someone that was her own hardest critic, Marilyn spent time to herself to realise how big of an achievement this was. Marilyn’s parents were proud of her. Here, she believed it was true representation of hard work and dedication.

“I was telling my mum and my dad and they were so proud. I understood that it was a big thing.”

Marilyn was given $4,000 financial support, which she aims to use for her academic fees.

Marilyn PM websize

Future plans

Marilyn currently works as an usher at WellingtonNZ. She has recently been working at new venue Tākina for local events around Wellington. This has been a valuable opportunity to get industry experience in local events and productions in the city.

With her sights set on the future, she aims to continue building a career in the performing arts sector. She has a passion to connect her Latin American culture into the performing arts space as well. She is a member of multiple music bands, that perform various Latin American genres such as tango and cumbia. Much of her weekends are spent performing at gigs across various Wellington bars.

“Being apart of the bands gives me a chance for me to stay connected to my Argentinian culture. I’m so proud to be showcasing Argentinian culture on this side of the world.”

Being able to connect to her culture is paramount for Marilyn. After study, she plans to create a musical theatre group that performs in both Spanish and English.

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