Disney to fund black musical theatre students at Royal Academy of Music

Disney's Aladdin. Photo: Deen van Meer/Disney Disney's Aladdin. Photo: Deen van Meer/Disney
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Disney has announced plans to fund students from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds to study musical theatre at the Royal Academy of Music.

Three students will receive full scholarships for the school’s one-year postgraduate course, thanks to money from Disney Theatrical Productions.

The scholarships were prompted by ongoing concerns over the under-representation of BAME talent in musical theatre, and follows the publication of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Centre Stage report last year.

The report branded the UK theatre industry as “hideously white”, adding that it suffers from unconscious bias.

Disney Theatrical Productions president and producer Thomas Schumacher said the organisation had long believed in its imperative to open doors for young BAME performers.

“Thanks to the Royal Academy, these scholarships will welcome and reward the most talented among them,” he added.

The first three scholarships will be available for the academic year starting in September 2017, which is open for applications until March 23.

Applicants will be selected based on talent, however the chosen students should also have the potential to act as a role model to encourage others from diverse backgrounds who aspire to careers in musical theatre.

Dan Bowling, head of musical theatre at the academy, added: “The creation of three Disney Theatrical scholarships at the Royal Academy of Music is the fulfilment of my dream to bring these two great organisations together in working towards training the next generation of BAME artists in musical theatre.”