You Don't Have To Be A Diva To Go To University, But It Helps

8 November 2011

Dale Diva

Grace Goodbean, Judie Taylor and Josie Walter members of the Derbyshire based singing group DaleDiva.

I firmly believe you're never too old to study and it's never too late to find your inner Diva

Grace GoodbeanBA (Hons) Creative Expressive Therapies (Art Pathway)student.


DaleDiva winning Channel 5's Don't Stop Believing.

When Grace Goodbean moved to Derbyshire she had two dreams, to sing and to study. What she didn't have was the confidence to give either a go.

Four years on and she's performed on live television as part of the Derbyshire show choir, DaleDiva, who won Channel 5's Don't Stop Believing. She is also in the final year of the BA (Hons) Creative Expressive Therapies (Art Pathway) degree course at the University of Derby.

The 48 year-old mum relocated from Luton to Matlock, in Derbyshire, in 2007. Using her eclectic mix of skills Grace found work in day care and resource centres, working with people with learning difficulties and the elderly, practising reflexology, painting childrens' faces at events, festivals and parties. She also became a foster carer.

Shortly after arriving in Matlock she saw a leaflet appealing for women who want to sing. Her curiosity aroused, Grace found herself at DaleDiva's first audition and practice session.

Grace said: "If I'd known what I was letting myself into I'd probably not have gone, I'd have been terrified. Ally, the director, waited until we'd relaxed a bit before telling us about the extravagant costumes, the false eyelashes and the glamorous hairstyles we'd be sporting for our performances."

To say DaleDiva bought Grace out of her shell is something of an understatement. Grace will join the rest of DaleDiva singing at Derby's Christmas Lights switch on event in the Market Place on 19 November. They're also hosting a matinee and evening show at Derby Theatre on Sunday 13 November called 'Believe' where they'll be performing a mix of a cappella arrangements and pop tracks from their new album, DaleDiva.

Grace credits the flamboyant show choir with boosting her confidence and to getting her to connect with the University of Derby.

Grace said: "I suppose it was a case of meeting the right people at the right time. By sheer coincidence two of my new Diva friends turned out to be tutors at the University."

Creative Expressive Therapies tutor Judie Taylor and Design lecturer Josie Walter also sing with DaleDiva.

Grace added: "I still had the itch to study but I didn't know what I wanted to do. I felt that all my skills were creative and very hands on in a practical sense and wouldn't translate into anything a University could offer.

"One evening at rehearsals I got speaking to Judie, I'd known her for a while but we'd never spoken about what I did or what she did. Just a few minutes into chatting she told me about the course she teaches on, it was a lightning bolt moment.

"Later, when I looked at the prospectus I seriously thought the course had been designed just for me. It was perfect. It offered me the opportunity to use all my previous experience in the caring professions and my creative interests and turn them into something that can really benefit people."

Grace says her time at the University has helped her recognise the importance of her previous experiences, and how underpinning her practical skills with knowledge can lead her forward even further.

Grace said: "The course has shifted my aspirations. Before I might have been looking at jobs as a support worker but now I'm thinking more about how I can influence policy. I can't believe I'm saying that but with the experience I've gained and now the knowledge to back it up, it puts me in a position where I could and should be applying for those higher level opportunities."

"The thing I've learned with DaleDiva and with my course is that firstly you have to trust yourself and that you have to value what you've learned throughout your life.

"Secondly you have to throw yourself in with confidence, when you believe you can do something other people believe in you as well. I firmly believe you're never too old to study and it's never too late to find your inner Diva."

Judie Taylor, Creative Expressive Arts tutor at the University of Derby, said: "Creative Expressive Therapies and DaleDiva share a common belief that the arts can be uplifting, build confidence and self esteem while also promoting a sense of belonging and community.

"It has been fantastic to see Grace flourish during the past few years and it is also heartening to hear her say that the degree has opened up opportunities for her and has raised her expectations of what she can go on to achieve and the contribution she can make."

For further media information please contact Press Officer Annabel Harvey on 01332 591942 or email

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