Throughout this challenging year, The Stage is proud to continue collaborating with a selection of schools and academies to provide The Stage Scholarships. Sylvia Young Theatre School has been a partner for more than 25 years and this year it is pleased to offer a place to 11-year-old Diaana Babnicova, from London.
This scholarship, valued in excess of £70,000, will provide Diaana with full-time training in the performing arts, while maintaining a high standard of academic study.
Diaana, who had previously attended part-time classes at the school, is thrilled at the opportunity and raring to start her training.
“It’s amazing. It’s like a dream come true,” she says. “I always knew from the first day I went to the part-time school I wanted to go full-time. But we knew my mum and dad could never afford it. So winning this is amazing. I am so thankful and I can’t wait to start in September. I wish it was starting tomorrow.”
Diaana has been passionate about performing since the age of three, when she entertained her friends and family. More recently, she has performed in the West End production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s School of Rock, playing the role of Shonelle.
Even though Diaana is no stranger to the excitement of the West End stage, she still found the audition process exhilarating.
“At the vocational audition, we had Sylvia and some other staff members watching us. We had to sing, dance and do an acting piece. I was very nervous. When I got a recall, I wanted to get in to the school so badly I went in and did my piece, and when I came out I was shaking I was so excited. It was so much fun.”
Sylvia Young, who always takes a hands-on approach to auditions, had only praise for Diaana’s focus and determination.
“Our scholarship winner is chosen by an independent professional panel,” says Young. “They look for talent in all three disciplines, along with excellent performance skills. Diaana met this criteria with a wonderful audition.”
Diaana will begin training on September 7 when the school begins its first term of the new academic year.