Past winners of The Laurence Olivier Bursary include Ewan McGregor and Michael Sheen, and is an award set up by the Society of London Theatre to realize Olivier’s dream of helping young actors with potential.
Each summer SOLT invites the principals of selected drama schools to submit two nominations for the bursary. The nominees should be approaching their final year and fulfill the criteria of financial need and evident talent. The short list of 40 students appear before a panel of theatre industry professionals chaired by West End producer Lee Menzies, where they give a ten minute audition, followed by an interview.
Vital players in the West End and the UK’s great acting fraternity.
“What’s fantastic is that the students who were awarded bursaries today were all put forward by the Principals of their colleges; people who have watched them evolve and really know that they extraordinary talent, but are facing severe financial hardship,” said SOLT’s President Mark Rubinstein.
“It is wonderful that we can provide some extra financial support to ensure they can complete their training and become vital players in the West End and the UK’s great acting fraternity.”
The 2011 bursaries are awarded as follows:
• Laurence Olivier Bursaries: Emma Hook (Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts); Chris Leask (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art); Michaela Coel (Guildhall School of Music and Drama); Jason Callender (Manchester Metropolitan University); Alasdair Hankinson (Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama); Prisca Shallcross (Oxford School of Drama); Matthew Benjamin (Drama Studio); Melissa Johns (East 15 Acting School); Adam Nagaitis (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art); Dan Parr (Arts Educational Schools)
• Laurence Olivier Bursary and Mary Selway Bursary (given in alternate years in memory of the late casting director Mary Selway by the Casting Directors Guild): Edwin Thomas (Guildhall School of Music and Drama)
• Carmen Silvera Bursary (given by agent Barry Burnett in memory of the late actress Carmen Silvera): Jennifer Greenwood
• Behrens Foundation Bursary (Established by Michael Behrens, a leading City of London merchant banker, the Behrens Foundation provides a considerable annual support for a range of the performing arts, including theatre): Maria Louis (Academy of Live and Recorded Arts); Lorna Nickson-Brown (Drama Centre); Stephanie Hyam (Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts); Molly Gromadzki (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art); Jennifer English (Birmingham School of Acting).