Emil Dale Academy has announced the five winners of The Stage Scholarship 2018. Places on the two-year intensive musical theatre course have been awarded to Ben Wilby, Luke Bassett and Laura Dawkes. Further awards have been given for the musical theatre one-year foundation to Xenoa Campbell -Ledgister and Joshua Price. Together the scholarships are worth £16,500, enabling each student to train at the academy in Hitchin, Hertfordshire.
Ben, aged 16, originally from Cannock in West Staffordshire, attended one of the academy’s open days before auditioning. He says: “I knew from the moment I went to the open day that it was the right school for me, and I thank Emil Dale and The Stage for giving me this opportunity to continue my journey. I feel so privileged and grateful to EDA to have been given such an amazing start to my theatre training.”
Luke, also 16, from Lancing in West Sussex, has previous experience with the National Youth Music Theatre as well as training at the Regnante School of Performing Arts in Worthing. “When I found out I had been awarded with a scholarship, me and my family were all incredibly pleased and thankful,” he says.
Initial auditions weren’t only held in Hitchin, there were also open auditions in Cardiff. Here, 16-year-old Laura had her opportunity to dazzle the judges. She says: “We had to sing a group number and then we were split into two groups. We alternated a solo singing session and a dance session. I was selected to stay another two hours for the next round – this is where I sang my prepared audition piece. A few days later I received an email saying I had been successful at this stage and would be heading to EDA for the final round.”
Joshua, aged 18, joins the Gap Year course following experience in choirs and amateur theatre groups and completed a BTec Level 3 course in performing arts in his home town of Prestatyn, north Wales. “When I found out I had won the scholarship I was so happy. It will help me pursue my musical theatre career,” he says.
It was at auditions in Scotland that Xenoa had her chance to shine. The 16-year-old has been taking dance classes since she was two, and, like Luke, has been part of Youth Music Theatre.
“Initially I did a free workshop in Glasgow and, following this, I was contacted to audition at the college. There, we did a dance workshop with a warm-up, an across-the-floor sequence and we learned a jazz combination. I know I will be pushed to my limits at the school, so I can improve and pursue the career I want. The scholarship gives my parents peace of mind with regard to finances, which we all appreciate.”