The Stage Scholarship at Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts has been awarded to 11-year-old Tori Ryan. A half-scholarship has also been offered to 12-year-old Andrew Parfitt from Hertfordshire.
East London-based Tori has a long-held ambition to train in the performing arts and was attending the Kerry Jane Academy of Dance in East Ham. Tori and Andrew will attend the internationally acclaimed dance school from September, with scholarships in excess of £95,000.
As well as training in dance, Tori also has experience in theatre, having performed in both Matilda and The Lion King in Switzerland.
“I was crying – I was so happy that I got the scholarship. For my audition I had to do some dancing, group workshops and acting as well as a solo singing audition. I sang Quiet from Matilda.”
There were also tears in the Parfitt household, when Andrew heard he had won his part-scholarship.
“I was attending summer school at Italia Conti,” Andrew recalls, ”and I came home one day and had a letter about scholarship auditions that I had attended. I just started crying, I was so happy.
“About two or three years ago I joined the Creative Dance Academy. They were not just doing dance classes, they were also doing acting and singing lessons as well. I fell in love with performing then.”
Andrew’s mother Karen remembered the root of her son’s interest in performing. “He’s always liked performing but for a long time dancing has been his main thing. He started watching Strictly Come Dancing and fell in love with it. We took Andrew to ballroom classes and he got on really well and won medals. When that school closed, I was recommended by a friend to take him to Creative, where they were doing more street dancing.”
Following their training, both Tori and Andrew are keen to forge a career in the performing arts. Thanks to this scholarship, they are one step nearer to that goal.
Alex Jessop, head of dance at the acclaimed school, was present at this year’s auditions.
“Tori and Andrew both demonstrated an excellent attitude and commitment in the audition process. Not only do they have excellent potential for this level of training, but they also possess the desirable qualities of a great work ethic while being open and responsive in class.
“We are excited for the opportunities that await them at Italia Conti, and look forward to welcoming them in September.”