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Welcome to the Big Apple!

Swindon Advertiser: Charlotte in New York Charlotte in New York

WESTLEA Primary School circa 1999. The play was Alice in Wonderland and I was my class's chosen Alice.

Unbeknown to the teacher turned casting director at the time, this (small yet pivotal) role marked the start of what is now looking likely to be a lifelong love affair with acting, the stage and all things entertainment.

Born and raised in Swindon, during my teenage years I attended various dance, drama and singing classes in and around the town.

After completing a BTEC in Performance at New College in 2005, I spent the next few years taking on various jobs in the UK and abroad.

In between my ventures I would return to my parent's house in the town and I spent a good couple of years working at the wonderful Wyvern Theatre whilst saving for drama school.

The Wyvern taught me more about theatre than any school ever could and I have very fond memories of working (in almost every department) there.

However, almost two years ago I decided that London was truly calling and I've called the city home ever since. That is, until now.

I've been an official (albeit temporary) New Yorker for more than two months and there still isn't a day that goes by where I don't question how exactly it is that I ended up here.

In short, earlier this year I applied and was accepted to The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute to study acting.

Following training at Central School Of Speech and Drama in London I had already had an eventful year where jobs included dancing for a Britain's Got Talent commercial with Ant and Dec, featuring in Scouting For Girls' 'Summertime In The City' music video and being selected as part of the cast for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies if London 2012.

My New York adventure had been something of a dream until late July when suddenly, in amongst the Olympic fever, the paperwork was signed, the flights were booked and it really was all happening.

I arrived early September when the City was still coated in a late summer haze.

Following the UK's failed attempt of a warm season, I felt very lucky to finally see more than 4 days of consecutive sunshine.

My apartment is in Brooklyn and although at first I wasn't overly taken with my furry rat-shaped neighbours or distinct lack of kitchen appliances, I've grown to almost like the place.

It is what some might describe as 'character building' and it certainly couldn't be further from the streets of Westlea that I grew up on.

As a child, my companions and I were truly spoiled with the abundance of green space we had at our disposal and took the fact we could take a scenic walk to school along the brooke for granted.

Brooklyn's concrete basketball courts and Yellow school buses don't really offer much in the way of comparison.

It didn't take me long to settle in and with lots of lines to learn and New York to explore there has certainly never been a dull moment.

I've already been through two natural disasters which is something I never thought I'd be saying at the start of the year.

My plane landed during a Tornado and more recently I witnessed the wrath of Superstorm Sandy when it swept across the East Coast.

Luckily I was largely un affected but it did mean that my school closed for a week and I had one stranded best friend whose initial four days visit to the city turned into a nine day lay over.

Following the storm, it has been inspiring to watch New York come together and try to piece the city back together after the devastation that was caused.

From teenage volunteers sweeping up leaves to home owners renting out their rooms for free, you can feel everyone's genuine desire to help and overcome tragedy together.

From an actor's point of view, I really couldn't wish for a better place to be continuing my studies.

The Institute is based within the vibrant neighbourhood of Union Sq which is a sensory delight and constantly abuzz -an absolute must visit for anyone heading to New York.

There seem to be new restaurants, bars and shops to be discovered all the time, which isn't proving too ideal for my student budget.

Several weeks after arriving at Strasberg I was lucky enough to be cast in my first (off off) Broadway production- 'How I Learned To Drive'.

The show opens this week and I am thrilled to have been given the opportunity to take to the same stage as acting greats such as Marilyn Monroe and Robert De Niro.

The weeks are flying by and I cannot wait for everything that's still ahead of me. What with opening night looming, Thanksgiving just around the corner and winter rapidly setting in, there is always magic to found and much to be done in every New York minute.

You can follow Charlotte on Twitter @CharliNice

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Charlotte Nice shares her tales from across the pond as she studies acting at the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute

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