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UK Drama School Students Awarded Over £64,000 In Laurence Olivier Bursaries

18 drama school students from across the UK have been awarded a total of £64,500 in bursaries by the Society of London Theatre (SOLT) 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 certificates on the red carpet.

Established by SOLT in 1987 to mark the 80th birthday of Lord Olivier, the Laurence Olivier Bursaries provide financial support to exceptional students who face financial difficulties going into their final year of drama school. Previous bursary winners have included Denise Gough, Bryony Hannah, Paterson Joseph, Ewan McGregor, Daniel Rigby, Vinette Robinson, Juma Sharkah, Michaela Coel and Michael Sheen.

Drama school principals across the UK nominate students, who are then auditioned on a West End stage and interviewed by a panel of theatre industry professionals, led by producer Lee Menzies, Chair of the Laurence Olivier Bursaries Committee. This year's auditions took place at St Martin's Theatre.

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.

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 realize 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

Tim Oziegbe - Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts

Tommy Sim'aan - 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

Chris 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

Laurence Olivier Bursaries judging panel:

Lee Menzies (chair)

Priscilla John

Gareth Johnson

Carla Morris

Indhu Rubasingham

Wendy Spon

Madani Younis


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