This year The Stage Scholarship at Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts has been awarded to 13-year-old Maddie Monti.
The talented performer from Dagenham in Essex is thrilled to have been chosen for the full scholarship, an award valued at more than £65,000.
Speaking between technical rehearsals for her latest dance show, Maddie said: “I’ve always had a real passion for performing so I felt really honoured to be given this opportunity. I’m so thankful.”
Perseverance has played a huge part in Maddie’s career so far. The young performer has been dancing with the Spotlight Stage School in Essex since the age of seven, competing in both regional and national competitions and training up to 13 hours a week.
She originally auditioned for The Stage Scholarship with Italia Conti aged 11, but was unsuccessful at the time. Undeterred, Maddie continued to train until she felt more confident with her audition.
“I really enjoyed it. I wasn’t nervous at all, because I don’t get nervous. I find that can really put you off. So I went into the audition and we had two classes – street and ballet, and then I did my dance audition, a song and acting. Then we had to do the educational stuff.”
Academic studies are taken just as seriously as performing arts studies at Italia Conti and tests are taken on audition day in maths and English. Pupils will study a range of subjects at Key Stage 3 and add GCSEs in drama and dance during years 10 and 11.
Alex Jessop, head of dance at Italia Conti, was on the audition panel and noted that Maddie was a good all-rounder for her age.
“Maddie demonstrated a huge amount of potential in her audition, with consistency across all three disciplines of singing, acting and dance. Quite often a candidate of this age would have more experience and ability in one area, whereas Maddie was skilled across the board. Her acting showed character development and a sense of the situation she was playing, her dance was well presented and showed particular potential in jazz, and her singing was significantly mature and developed for her age.”
Maddie will start her training with Italia Conti in September this year and on graduation, intends to pursue a career in the performing arts.
“I’m so excited. When I finish my training I’d love to work on stage. I prefer dancing, but I really love all of them – singing and acting too – so it’s difficult to choose.”