The Stage Scholarships 2017: Sylvia Young Theatre School
It’s a pretty impressive roll call – School of Rock, Motown the Musical, Aladdin, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Matilda the Musical, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Lion King, Les Miserables – all West End productions in which Sylvia Young Theatre School students (aged between 10 and 16) have recently enjoyed prominent roles.
Sylvia Young’s devotion to the nurturing and training of young talent since the school was founded in 1972 has also been reflected in her commitment to The Stage Scholarships scheme. Over the space of 25 years, Young and her team have helped more than 70 children to pursue a career in the performing arts.
On offer this year is one full scholarship (worth up to £70,000) and the chance to join an unrivalled line-up of former students who have found success in all areas of the performing arts.
These artists include Kellie Bright, Keeley Hawes, Preeya Kalidas, Jenna Russell, Rita Ora, Denise van Outen, Emma Bunton, Nicholas Hoult and members of bands such as Busted, McFly, the Wanted and the Saturdays. Not to mention what seems like half the cast of EastEnders, past and present.
Now also part of that very special group is 2016 The Stage Scholarship winner Ashton Henry-Reid, aged 11, from south-west London.
Ashton already has a number of professional credits to his name (Matilda the Musical, Bugsy Malone) and has just finished a run in The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre. He will attend SYTS full-time for five years (an award worth a total value of £65,000).
He said: “Winning this scholarship is truly amazing and life-changing for me. A full scholarship will bring me one step closer to my dream.
“As soon as I started going to Sylvia Young part-time, I really wanted to be there all the time. I was overwhelmed when I found out about the scholarship; I was out with my family and we all burst into tears. I don’t think it dawned on me that I was going full-time until I went to get my uniform.
“It’s exciting to be with people who love the same things as me. I could not wait to get started.”
Alongside his fellow students, Ashton will follow the school’s academic and vocational curriculum up to the age of 16 at the current premises, which are located in a five-floor converted church in central London (not far from Marble Arch underground station).
Young takes pride in the school’s first-class teaching and the way in which the staff members ensure pupils’ feet stay on the ground, whatever roles they play in theatre, film and TV.
This is achieved by encouraging a commitment to hard work and SYTS’ weekly schedule of three days of academic work and two days of vocational training.
So what is it that Young is looking for in possible scholarship winners?
“First of all, we are seeking potential and then an ability to sing, dance or act. But it’s important that those applying know they don’t have to be fully trained already, it’s more about natural talent that as a school we can support.”
The intensive timetable is balanced with a happy and caring environment, as Young explains: “I think we really care about the kids and give them as much support as we can. And it’s not all about our financial commitment, it’s everything about their time with us, right from the beginning when some of the children are away from home for the first time.”
Course: Performing arts
Educational level: School age, 10-16 years
Number of scholarships offered: One
Value of scholarship: Up to £70,000
What costs are covered? Fees
Where is the school? Nutford Place, London, W1
Audition date: March 5, recall audition March 19, final audition March 22. Applicants will be grouped according to age and will take part in workshops in all three vocational subjects – drama, singing and dance. After the workshop audition, selected applicants will be invited back to attend a recall and/or final audition when they will be asked to perform their individual pieces to an invited guest panel.
Scholarship auditions are for students entering school years 7, 8 and 9 in September 2017 who were born between the following dates:
Current year 6 – 01/09/05-31/08/06 inclusive
Current year 7 – 01/09/04-31/08/05 inclusive
Current year 8 – 01/09/03-31/08/04 inclusive.
How to apply: Register online at regonline.co.uk/sytsbursaries2017 before February 13. Applicants need to complete a detailed online form. All correspondence will be sent via email. A registration payment per applicant will be required during your online registration. Credit and debit cards accepted.