Coaching future stars of stage and screen for almost 40 years, Sylvia Young Theatre School also prides itself on academic excellence. Paul Vale explains what’s on offer to the winner of this year’s scholarship
The Sylvia Young Theatre School has been working with The Stage to provide an annual scholarship to train at the stage school for more than 25 years. The school was founded in 1972 by Sylvia Young and since the collaboration with The Stage began, more than 70 children have benefited from the training and support the scholarship provides. This year, once again, a full scholarship is on offer, worth up to £70,000.
The scholarship winner will become a full-time member of the school’s community and the fees will be fully funded by the school up to the age of 16. Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays will be spent on the academic curriculum, while on Thursdays and Fridays, all students take part in vocational training including ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary dance, drama and singing.
“The school is small, fostering a family atmosphere, “ Young explains, “where each student is a known face, each individual talent is acknowledged and supported, self-discipline and effort are valued and staff are involved and caring. We are looking for a young person who has strong potential as a performer, is committed to working hard and developing their talent, is eager to support the school and who, above all, has a passion for the arts.”
Associated with the school is a theatrical agency to which all full-time school students belong. Students at SYTS regularly get the opportunity to audition, sometimes leading to performances in the West End, as well as on film and television. On stage, students have taken lead roles in Matilda the Musical, School of Rock, Bugsy Malone, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13¾ and The BFG. Exciting film and television opportunities have included work on Game of Thrones, Penny Dreadful, EastEnders, Hollyoaks and Harry Potter as well as three of the Nativity films.
Gretchen Withecomb from Lewisham, last year’s winner of The Stage Scholarship, is thoroughly enjoying her time at SYTS and has already been put forward for various auditions.
“It’s very welcoming at the school. It’s like a second home and I love it. I’ve already been to a few auditions and have done some voice recordings. I did one in half-term, which teaches languages to kids from different countries.”
The school offers its students a broad foundation in academic subjects, leading to a good range of GCSEs together with a thorough training in the performing arts. The combination of both sides of the curriculum being developed and explored by the student can lead to a wide range of further possible training pathways from the age of 16.
Educational level: School age
Number of scholarships offered: One full scholarship
Value of scholarship: £70,000
Costs covered: Fees (excluding boarding fees)
Location: Nutford Place, London W1H 5YZ
Likely audition date: Self-tape application (closing date 12pm February 5). Successful applicant will be invited to audition on February 16 and 25.
How do I apply? Via the Sylvia Young website
Audition fee: £15 plus £2 online booking fee
Audition requirements: Auditions are for students entering school years 7 and 8 in September 2020 who were born between the following dates: Year 7: 01/09/2008 – 31/08/2009. Year 8: 01/09/2007 – 31/08/2008. All applicants will be invited to submit an audition self tape to firstname.lastname@example.org where they will be asked to prepare two short acting pieces, provided by SYTS, plus a song and a dance of your choice. Selected applicants will be required to attend a recall to perform their pieces to a panel. A maths and English test will be taken. Parent/guardian will be required to complete a means test at recall stage.