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Olivier Awards arrivals corridor (Photo: Pamela Raith)

Laurence Olivier Bursary

We established the Laurence Olivier Bursary in 1987 to commemorate the 80th Birthday of the great British actor Laurence Olivier.

Laurence Olivier was passionate about helping young actors with the potential to make a major contribution to British theatre, and the Laurence Olivier Bursary seeks to do this by assisting talented drama students facing financial difficulties during their studies. The demands of their final year makes part-time jobs almost impossible, which is why the bursary can make such a huge difference.

Each year principals from drama schools across the UK submit nominations for the bursary scheme. Nominees should be approaching their final year and fulfil the dual criteria of financial need and potential talent.

About 40 students are entered each June by drama school principals across the UK and appear before a panel of theatre industry professionals – usually producers and casting directors – where they give a 10-minute audition and an interview.

Alongside the Laurence Olivier Bursaries given by SOLT, funds are also awarded by The Behrens Foundation, The Casting Directors’ Guild, the estate of Sir Peter and Lady Saunders and theatrical agent Barry Burnett as part of the bursary scheme. Individual Bursaries can range from £500 to £10,000 and are given at the discretion of the judges.

Previous bursary winners have included Denise Gough, Bryony Hannah, Paterson Joseph, Ewan McGregor, Daniel Rigby, Vinette Robinson, Juma Sharkah, Michaela Coel and Michael Sheen.

The 2022 recipients can be found below:

The Sir Peter and Lady Saunders Foundation Olivier Busrsary       

Daniel Apea

The Clothworkers’ Foundation Olivier Bursary    

Rebecca Bell

The Laurence Olivier Bursary      

Christian Cooper

Conor Doran

Emily Jones

Jasmine Elcock

Abdul Sessay

Melodie Karczewski

Yasemin Mutlu

Eliza Parry Williams

Shannon Watson

Neeve Dilworth

Eve Werdmuller von Elgg

Allie-Georgia Aylott

James Taheny

Behrens’ Foundation Olivier Bursary       

Liam Prince-Donnelly

Lindokuhle  Shinda

Carmen Silvera Olivier Bursary   

Aimee Ebsworth

Casting Directors’ Guild Olivier Bursary  

Charles Kofi Afedzi Entsie