SOLT Announces 2014 Laurence Olivier Bursaries

SOLT Announces 2014 Laurence Olivier Bursaries

Sixteen gifted students from drama schools across the UK were today awarded almost £53,000 worth of bursaries by the Society of London Theatre (SOLT) in order to help them complete their training. We are delighted to announce the inaugural Clothworkers' Foundation bursary worth a total of £37,500 over five years with £7,500 awarded to a student annually.

Established by SOLT in 1987 in honour of the 80th birthday of Lord Olivier, the Laurence Olivier Bursaries aim to provide financial support to exceptional students entering their final year of drama school who are also facing financial difficulties in continuing their studies. The rigorous nature of acting courses means it is often impossible for students to undertake paid employment while training and the aim of the bursaries is to remove some of this financial burden.

Previous bursary winners have included Bryony Hannah, Paterson Joseph, Ewan McGregor, Daniel Rigby, Vinette Robinson and Michael Sheen.

Each year, the Principals of drama schools accredited by Drama UK submit two nominations each for the bursary. These nominees are then auditioned on a West End stage and interviewed by a panel of theatre industry professionals led by leading West End producer and Chair of the Olivier Bursaries Committee Lee Menzies.

Presenting the 16 recipients with their bursaries at a ceremony on Thursday 19 June 2014 Lee Menzies said:

"The standard of applicants this year was, once again, extremely high making the selection process very difficult.

With the erosion of educational funding nationally, the support we are able to offer students through the Olivier Bursaries is needed more than ever. We are extremely grateful to all our donors and, for the first time this year, the Clothworkers' Foundation for the significant amount of money they have pledged for the next five years in support of these objectives via the Clothworkers' Laurence Olivier Bursary.

Financial support of this kind, via all the bursaries, allows the recipient to continue their studies with a small financial cushion.

The Laurence Olivier Bursaries range from £500 to a maximum of £7,500 and are given at the discretion of the judges. Other organisations and individuals award their own bursaries in conjunction with the Society's scheme.

The 2014 bursaries are awarded as follows:

  • Laurence Olivier Bursaries: Edward Bluemel (Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama), Jammy Bulaya(Royal Central School of Speech and Drama), Rhianna Compton (Manchester School of Theatre), Kate Dolan(The Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts), Georgina Downing (Birmingham School of Acting), LottieFinklaire (East 15 Acting School), Emily-Jane McNeill (Royal Conservatoire of Scotland), Megan Pemberton(Oxford School of Drama), Juma Sharkah (Arts Educational Schools), Lauren Soley (Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts), Elena Valentine (The Academy of Live and Recorded Arts)
  • The Clothworkers' Laurence Olivier Bursary (inaugural year): Matt Jessup (Bristol Old Vic Theatre School)
  • 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): Stuart Crowther (The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts), Hannah Morrish (Drama Centre London), Celeste Veazey (Rose Bruford College of Theatre & Performance)
  • Carmen Silvera Bursary (Given in memory of the late actress Carmen Silvera by Barry Burnett): Jordon Kemp (Drama Centre London)

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