IT’S a tale as old as time. Aspiring youngsters dream of heading to London to find the streets paved with gold and to see their name in lights.

In the last 10 years, economic recession has caused interest in arts careers to decline as the pressure to find well-paid jobs became more prevalent.

The West End could be facing a lack of future David Tennants and Sheridan Smiths, and now a new film project lifts the lid on the struggle to live the dream.

Chocolate Films have collaborated with the 1000 Londoners project and the City of London to discover the real day-to-day lives of 1000 people in the capital.

Gloria Obianyo, from Ealing, is the focus of film number 63, which looks at her experience at Rose Bruford college and her journey from theatre school to the professional stage.

It's a journey familiar to many performers and raises the question of how prepared they are for taking that first step.

Many begin with youth theatre groups and local amateur theatre companies before moving on to structured training.

While Gloria was never really part of the youth theatre scene in Ealing and preferred to attend weekend workshops with the Pop School and Stage Academy, a lot of her school friends took part in the youth theatre programme at the Questors Theatre.

In 2014, a total of 18,180 students applied to study performing arts-based subjects, including music, drama and dance at university courses in the UK.

In comparison, 5,800 students applied to study dance or drama at one of the UK's specialised colleges, such as Trinity Laban Conservatoire and the Birmingham Conservatoire.

Such a marked difference seems to show that students are preferring to study in an academic environment, rather than a specialised, practical setting.

It's hard to tell if this is due to the cost or to the individual preferences in study setting.

Gloria said: "I chose not to go to a university because I knew the course wasn't going to be as practical as I wanted. There would be loads of sitting and writing instead of getting up and doing."

Ultimately, she chose to attend the actor musicianship course at Rose Bruford College in Sidcup, Kent, and believes this has prepared her for the next steps in her professional career.

She said: “It’s perfect for me. I get to be both an actor and musician and to study all the possible forms of employment for both roles.”

Choosing the right path for any higher education course is life-changing and finding the ideal course for each individual requires research.

But, for those pursuing something as unstable as a career in the performing arts, the job prospects afterwards are vitally important.

Clare Devine, 21, a musical theatre graduate of the University of Chichester said: “Nothing can prepare you fully for the outside world. However, I do feel my course forces you to look at the reality of how difficult the industry is.”

She said mock auditions were held throughout the course with little time for them to prepare, which is often the case in real life.

It’s the side of theatre that few get to see - the endless auditions, rehearsals and temporary jobs to pay the rent.

Filmmaker and part of the 1000 Londoners team, Nick Shaw, was keen to explain the thinking behind Gloria’s film.

“We wanted to film somebody from the entertainment industry and really capture that behind-the-scenes atmosphere we rarely get to see” he said. “It was clear that Gloria’s film showed the team work that goes into a theatrical production.”

In an industry where the work can be sporadic, many performers are forced to take temporary jobs to pay their way and cling on to their dreams of performing.

Adam Painting, 22, trained at Bird College in Sidcup and has previously performed as a backing dancer for Take That in the Royal Variety Performance at the London Palladium. He now works as a stockbroker.

He said: “The innocence soon wears off and you realise how much you have to fight for a job. Auditions become a war zone, with the price of actually having somewhere to live on the line.

“It’s understandable why so many go into other careers when your livelihood is being tested constantly.”

Gloria’s scholarship from the Andrew Lloyd Webber scheme paid for the full three years of her training, but it seems that graduating is just the beginning. The real struggle is finding performing opportunities afterwards.