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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.

This year’s winners

18 drama school students from across the UK have been awarded a total of £64,500 in bursaries by the Society of London Theatre and other donors, to help them complete their training.

The Laurence Olivier Bursary recipients will attend the Olivier Awards 2020 with Mastercard on Sunday 5 April at the Royal Albert Hall, where they will be presented with their certificates on the red carpet.

Meet some of the 2019 Laurence Olivier Bursary winners in our video below:


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Lee Menzies, Chair of the Laurence Olivier Bursaries Committee, said:

‘It is fantastic to be able to award the Laurence Olivier Bursaries each year, and I want to thank all the generous donors who, alongside SOLT, are committed to helping talented individuals overcome financial hardship and realise their potential.

‘The impressive list of past bursary winners, some of whom have gone on become household names, demonstrates the importance of recognising and supporting talent from all backgrounds, ensuring theatre and the creative arts continue to thrive in this country.’

Full list of 2019 Bursary recipients:

Behrens Foundation Bursary

Given in conjunction with the Laurence Olivier Bursary, donated by The Behrens Foundation

Alicia Forde – Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts
Talia Nyathi – Manchester School of Theatre
Timothy Oziegbe – Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts
Tommy Siman – Bristol Old Vic Theatre School

Casting Directors’ Guild Bursary

Given in conjunction with the Laurence Olivier Bursary, donated by members of the Casting Directors’ Guild

Caleb Obediah – Royal Academy of Dramatic Art
Tommy Sim’aan – Bristol Old Vic Theatre School

The Sir Peter and Lady Saunders Laurence Olivier Bursary

Given in conjunction with the Laurence Olivier Bursary, donated by the estate of Lady Saunders

Sean Hanratty – Guildford School of Acting

Carmen Silvera Bursary

Given in conjunction with the Laurence Olivier Bursary, donated by the agent Barry Burnett

Shannen McNeice – Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama

Laurence Olivier Bursary

Donated by Society of London Theatre

Natalie Blair – The Academy of Live & Recorded Arts
Alana Chokarian – Rose Bruford College of Theatre & Performance
Christopher Coniston – Arts Educational Schools London
Lydia Barton Lovett – Rose Bruford College of Theatre & Performance
Mali O’Donnell – Royal Academy of Dramatic Art
Felixe Forde – Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
Olivia Forrest – East 15 Acting School
Guy Hodgkinson – Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
Olivia Nakintu – London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art
Ellie Ruiz Rodriguez – Royal Central School of Speech & Drama
George Smale – Drama Centre


Due to the current pandemic various venues and productions are making announcements for their individual shows. Please bear with us as we try to keep this page as up to date as possible. If you find a mistake, please let us know by emailing enquiries@soltukt.co.uk. If you click through to seat selection (where you'll see either best available or a seating plan), you will be seeing the most up-to-date prices. If this differs from what we've written on the calendar, please bear with us, as those prices will update soon.

We now sell our famous TKTS Booth discounts online here at Official London Theatre.

We are now cancelling all performances up until and including 31 May 2020 to help us process existing bookings whilst we wait for further clarity from the government in terms of when we will be able to reopen.

We are so sorry that in these testing and difficult times you are not able to enjoy the show you have booked for and hope the following helps clarify next steps in respect of your tickets .

There is nothing that you need to do if your performance has been cancelled, but we do ask for your patience.

If you have booked directly with the theatre or show website for an affected performance, please be assured that they will contact you directly to arrange an exchange for a later date, a credit note/voucher or a refund. If you have booked via a ticket agent they will also be in contact with you directly.

We are processing in strict date order of performance, so you are likely to be contacted after the date you were due to go to the theatre. However, we want to reassure you that you will be contacted, and your order will be processed, but please do bear with us.

We’d like to thank everyone who has been patient and kind in dealing with their ticket providers so far and we are sorry that we cannot process your order as quickly as we would like.

Please do not contact your credit card company as that will slow the process down and put an additional burden on our box office and ticket agent teams.

In order for us to serve our audiences the best we can, please do not get in touch with your point of sale if you have booked for performances after 31 May. Please be reassured that if we have to cancel future performances you will be directly contacted by your theatre or ticket provider. Our producers continue to plan for all eventualities dependent on the individual needs of their shows and we will provide further updates on specific shows as and when they become available.

We look forward to welcoming you back into our theatres as soon as we are allowed to resume performances. In the meantime stay safe and healthy.

For more than 40 years, TKTS was our on-the-day theatre ticket box office in Leicester Square. Currently closed due to the current situation, we are now selling our great last minute seats and prices online. Click here to learn more.

While theatres are currently closed, various venues and productions are making announcements for their individual shows, including cancellations and rescheduled performances. Please check with the individual shows for details.