Local kid funds performing arts scholarships

February 29, 2024 BY

Performer Daniel Lim started raising funds for performing acts scholarships at the age of 11. Photo: SUPPLIED

A 12-year-old-boy has funded eight performing arts scholarships for young people by selling water bottles and handmade products.

Daniel Lim started his business, Casting Dreams, a little over a year ago at the age of 11.

Inspired by his love for musical theatre, all profits from the business are put towards scholarships to enable other young people to enjoy the performing arts.

An avid performer himself, Daniel has just completed a three-month run playing Young Elvis in Elvis: A Musical Revolution at Melbourne’s Athenaeum Theatre.

“I just wanted to make a charity but then we found out that it was actually quite hard to make a charity,” Daniel said.

“I still wanted to do it, so I wanted to make a business instead.

“We wanted to help others that were into performing arts as well but couldn’t afford it otherwise.”

The designs for Daniel’s handmade badges and keyrings are inspired by the musical theatre productions he performs in. Photo: SUPPLIED


Casting Dreams stocks a range of water bottles, badges and keyrings designed by Daniel.

“All of the shows that I’ve been in have inspired all of the designs that I have drawn on the badges and keyrings,” he said.

He sells his products at local markets, online through his website and at the shows produced by theatre company CentreStage.

Scholarships range from $100 to $1,000 and, with the help of his family, Daniel has developed relationships with local schools to select the recipients.

“We reach out to the schools, and they pick the students that they think are deserving of these scholarships,” he said.

In December, Daniel attended North Geelong Secondary College’s awards night where he presented five students with scholarships for instrumental lessons.

“It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Daniel said.

“It felt very good to be up there helping others that maybe haven’t had that opportunity before.”

Daniel also provides musical theatre scholarships to young people through CentreStage.

Last year, Daniel (centre) awarded five scholarships for instrumental lessons to students at North Geelong Secondary College. Photo: SUPPLIED


His mother, Jo Cook, said he is thinking long-term and one individual has even been the recipient of a recurring scholarship.

“If someone is in Year 7, it’s a bit hard to say, ‘Sorry, you can’t have it for the rest of your schooling’,” she said.

“The objective would to hopefully be able to continue to offer [the scholarships], so that means he’s going to have to raise more and more money.

“He very keen. He’s back to square one now that the year has started, so he’s hoping to start raising again for the end of the year.”

She said Daniel’s desire to help others made her “so proud”.

“Even when he first started off, he was recognising how fortunate he and others were that could get to [experience the performing arts],” she said.

“He said, ‘What if there’s the next Hugh Jackman or something out there?’; someone who could be up on stage but just can’t afford to do it.

“It’s lovely that he’s got a really caring nature to him and just thinks of others before himself a lot of the time.

“[We’re] really proud of that and we do what we can to help him.”

To contribute to Daniel’s scholarship fund, head to casting-dreams.square.site or follow his journey via his Instagram page @casting_dreams_