The Emil Dale Academy has announced the five winners of The Stage Scholarships 2019. For the two-year BTec sixth-form course in musical theatre, fees totalling £13,400 have been awarded to Monet Knight, Dominique Sands and Nathan Johnston. For the gap year course in musical theatre, a part scholarship to the value of £2,000 has been awarded to Zhanel Atymtayeva. There has also been a part-scholarship, worth £4,500 over three years, awarded to Jessica Odeleye for the BA (hons) in musical theatre.
“The audition season for the upcoming academic year has been brilliant,” says Emil Dale operations manager Sarah Moore. “We have seen such a high level of talent and students committed to their craft. It is clear there are people working incredibly hard and we wish everyone the very best for their futures. It is inspiring to see.”
The winners of the BTec course have a good deal of training behind them already. Knight, aged 16 from Stotfold in Hertfordshire, has been with EDA part-time for five years, but has been dancing at the Hitchin School of Russian Ballet since she was four years old.
“I’ve been training at EDA at weekends since I was 10. I was so excited when I found out that I had won a scholarship. I wanted to get onto this course, because I knew the school and that this was where I wanted to be,” she says.
Johnston, 16 from Larne in Northern Ireland, began performing in Belfast aged seven. After undertaking part-time courses at the Belfast School of Performing Arts and working with the National Youth Music Theatre in 2018, he is thrilled to be starting at EDA.
“It’s not just the acting, singing and dance training that we will be learning. EDA focus on all aspects of the business, preparing us to work in a very competitive industry.”
Sands, who comes from from Tenerife, is also dedicated to a career in performing arts, having spent years training at Sylvia Young Theatre School. Last year, he was awarded The Stage Scholarship to the Spirit Young Performers Company and now, aged 16, he continues to impress judges with his drive and commitment.
“I’ve been boarding at several drama schools since I was 10, so now I’m really excited to be able to move on to this next phase. EDA was my school of choice, mainly for the amount of contact hours on offer.”
The winner of funding for the intensive, gap year course is 17-year-old Atymtayeva, from Swansea. Following years of performing in amateur productions, she is looking forward to the big move to Hitchin and training with people as enthusiastic as herself.
“I am absolutely over the moon about winning this scholarship. It’s given me the opportunity to pursue a career and follow my dreams. “
For the BA (hons) in musical theatre award, 18-year-old Odeleye has won a part-scholarship, slashing £1,500 off her annual fees for three years. Having studied on the BTec course for two years, this young performer was keen to carry on training at the academy.
“I was quite overwhelmed when I was offered the scholarship, because I had already received a bursary for my BTec course. Once my training at EDA is complete, I can’t wait to get an agent and audition for some professional shows.”