Mike Walsh Fellowship Recipients Announced

The Mike Walsh Fellowships enable young theatre practitioners to travel overseas to further their knowledge and experience in their chosen fields of theatre before returning to Australia to pursue their careers. In 2015, the twentieth year of the awards, the Fellowships have been given to eight graduates of the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA), and the Western Australian Academy of the Performing Arts (WAAPA).

Major Fellows: Claire Lovering, acting (WAAPA); Anthony Taufa, acting (NIDA); Christiana Aloneftis, opera (VCA); Michael Hankin, design (NIDA). Minor Fellows: Nicola Gunn, performing (VCA); Matt Furlani, acting (VCA); Mark Pritchard, dramaturgy (VCA); Adam McGowan, producing (NIDA).

The Fellowships were originally awarded to NIDA graduates only. As Mike's theatre business interests expanded, and, since his acquisition of Her Majesty's Theatre, now include Melbourne, he decided in 2011 to extend the eligibility of the Fellowships to graduates of VCA and WAAPA. The total value of the annual awards was increased from $30,000 to $50,000; including this year, Mike has given $700,000 to more than 90 Fellows.

Previous Fellows include: film directors Justin Kurzel (Snowtown, Macbeth) and Joshua Lawson (The Little Death); actor Helen Dallimore (Wicked in London); international designers Peter England (Australia, Washington), Dan Potra (Europe), Michael Wilkinson (Hollywood); international lighting designers Mark Truebridge (Europe) and Damien Cooper (Opera Australia's The Ring, NYC, etc); and local theatre directors Patrick Nolan, John Sheedy, and Kip Williams. Fellows include puppeteers, a set builder, opera singers, an opera director, movement directors, property and costume makers, a playwright, and - of special interest to Mike - two fledgling producers.

The Fellowships are administered by Terence Clarke AM, who, together with Sandra Bates AM, and Mark Rowe (GM of Her Majesty's Theatre, Melbourne), joined Mike Walsh OBE on the interviewing panel.

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