The Stage Scholarships 2014: D and B School of Performing Arts

Mandy Rawthorne teaches the class exercise to music. Photo: Tony Mitchell
Mandy Rawthorne teaches the class exercise to music. Photo: Tony Mitchell

It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity – three years’ training at a successful performing arts school and no big tuition bills for you or your family to worry about.

That’s the offer on the table from the D and B School of Performing Arts, kicking off The Stage’s Scholarships scheme for 2014.

Two scholarships are being offered – each worth £23,625 (a grand total of £47,250) – covering full training fees for the school’s three-year, full-time musical theatre course.

It’s the third time the school has taken part in The Stage Scholarships scheme and the Sullivan sisters who founded

D and B in 1988 – ex-dancer Donna and former actor Bonnie (hence the initials in the name) – are aware of how difficult it is for potential students to afford the kind of intensive quality training their school offers.

Donna says: “With a balanced curriculum covering TV, film and theatre, we are confident that we train our students for all aspects of the industry. We are so proud to offer two full scholar­ships to talented, hard-working individuals who might not be able to pursue their dream career without it.”

One of last year’s scholarship winners, 19-year-old Joshua Dyke from Newton Abbot in Devon, is quick to acknowledge what a difference having his fees paid has made to both him and his family.

“If I hadn’t had the scholarship, the likelihood would have been that even though D and B is a more affordable school,

I wouldn’t have been able to go, especially moving from Devon. Life has been tough. My mum has had to work really hard to help me,” he says.

Donna adds:

The college is very selective and, with a maximum intake of 25 per year, every student is treated as an individual. We know the students inside out and are able to nurture them while making sure that no one slips under the radar.

This was one of the reasons why 2013 scholarship winner Hope Marie Evans decided D and B was the school for her. As the 16-year-old from Chester says:

"With a small intake, I knew I was not going to get pushed to the back."

Part of D and B’s ethos is to actively encourage students to work professionally in short-term engagements while training (through the school’s agency, D and B Management), all of which gives them invaluable experience and credits.

This approach has helped the school’s 2012 scholarship winners, now in their second year. Daniel Bell already has his own production company and recently produced two professional pantomimes, in addition to playing the role of the Dame in Cambridge. Rachel Rawlinson has been appearing as Jack Trott in Jack and the Beanstalk and has so far had five West End engagements, all before her graduation in 2015.

Donna says:

Of course, if an amazing opportunity comes in for one of our students, we don’t hold them back. For example, when Jacqueline Jossa was in her first year here at the college, the brief for Lauren Branning in EastEnders came in. Although she had to stop her training due to her busy filming schedule, she went on to win best newcomer at the National Television Awards and the TV Choice award for best actress.

JLS star Marvin Humes was a student at the school and he is now a patron of D and B.

Students preparing for their careers in TV, film or theatre can take advantage of all the impressive facilities at D and B’s headquarters, including seven studios, a studio theatre and state of the art sound systems.

“The Stage Scholarship is invaluable as it spreads the message of D and B across the country and makes students who are desperately seeking quality training aware of the wonderful things that are going on here,” says Donna.

Fill in the form here or from this week's newspaper and you could begin your all-round career in the arts within the friendly, professional environment of the D and B School of Performing Arts.

*D and B is our first Stage scholarship for this year. A further 15 partners are offering more than 120 places with the scheme's potential total value standing at nearly £1million this year. Coming up next week is the Susi Earnshaw Theatre School. See the January 16 edition of The Stage for more information