The Society of London Theatre (SOLT) has presented 15 second year drama students with bursaries to help them continue their final year of study.
After being nominated by staff at drama schools across the UK, the 10 recipients of the annual Laurence Olivier Bursaries were awarded certificates and the all important cheque at a ceremony on Thursday at SOLT’s Covent Garden offices. A further five students received two other bursaries awarded as part of the annual scheme.
Established in 1987 to commemorate Lord Olivier’s 80th birthday, the bursaries aim to help talented students who are facing financial difficulties in completing their last year of study. Nominees are invited to audition in front of a panel of SOLT members and casting directors before the £37,500 bursary fund is distributed between the winners.
Previous recipients of the bursaries include Ewan McGregor, Paterson Joseph and Michael Sheen.
Nica Burns, President of SOLT, described this year’s bursary winners as “A group of talented, very attractive looking, enthusiastic, young, hopeful stage stars of the future.” After expressing her congratulations, the producer offered some advice to the young actors: “We all know what a tough job it is going forward. There’s a lot of competition, a life of an actor is full of people saying no. Do not be daunted because you are all here because these people have said yes! So those days when you are feeling down because you didn’t get that part, just remember, as Scarlett O’Hara said “tomorrow is another day”, there’s another part round the corner and you’re starting off really, really well.”
As one recipient, Peter Clements, explained, the bursary will provide him with an excellent start: “I’m indebted to the panel and the Society of London Theatre and to my training at the Drama Centre. It now means I’m in a weird position where I don’t have to worry about certain things in my third year like getting good headshots, subscribing to Equity and Spotlight and it’s going to set me up in the best position for that, so it feels slightly unreal.”
But as fellow winner Josephine Brightwell explained, aside from the financial help, the bursary also carries with it a reputation they are keen to follow: “Just to be nominated for it, it was such a shock for me and a huge honour. The money helps so much, but it’s not just that. To actually have that award it just means everything to me and it’s a great start. Just looking at the names up there! It’s so exciting.”
The 2010 bursaries are awarded as follows:
Laurence Olivier Bursaries:
Josephine Brightwell at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London
Peter Clements at the Drama Centre in London
Joan Iyiola at the Bristol Old Vic theatre school
Ajjaz Awad-Ibrahim at the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts in London
Alex Mugnaioni at the Rose Bruford College in Kent
Adam Urey at the Birmingham School of Acting
Majid Mehdizadeh at Manchester Metropolitan University
Daniel Easton at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London
Naomi Heffernan at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London
Kathryn Rutherford at the Guildford School of Acting
The Behrens Bursary
Francine Challands at Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts
Behrens additional sums
Aaron Mwale at the Guildford School of Acting
Clifford Lynette at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff
Anna Simmons at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts
Raj Bajaj at the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts in London