Georgia Frost wins Alan Bates Award 2017
Bristol Old Vic Theatre School student Georgia Frost has won this year’s Alan Bates Award.
Harry Potter actor Noma Dumezweni presented her with the accolade, which is given to a graduating student, at a ceremony at the Actors Centre in London on May 4.
Frost was crowned the winner after a four-stage audition and interview process, with actor Sope Dirisu, BBC head of casting Julia Crampsie and agent Jeanette Hunter judging the final round.
The Actors Centre auditioned more students than ever before – more than 300 – after applications went digital for the first time this year, allowing students to self-tape their first round auditions.
Frost has been awarded a prize bundle worth more than £5,000, which includes a year’s membership to the Actors Centre, plus subscriptions to Equity, The Stage, and Spotlight for a year. The prize also includes a Ted Baker shopping spree, free tickets to West End shows at least once a month from SeeTickets, and free books from publishers Nick Hern Books and Samuel French.
All six finalists, who also include Afolabi Alli, Adam Boardman, Tok Stephen, Angus Imrie and Ross O’Donnellan, will receive a mentor, as well as some credit at the Actors Centre.
This year’s mentors include Nickolas Grace, Liz White, Mark Field, James Doherty, Polly Kemp and Chris New.
Unlike many other competitions and bursaries, actors are not nominated for the award but must put themselves forward.
Frost said: “I think it’s important to feel empowered when you go into the industry and feel like you have a support network around you.
“Receiving this award makes me feel like I have a base, a mentor and friends. A set-up to put me in the right state of mind.”
She added: “As the only woman in the final, something that is really important to me is doing it for the women. I am going to make that a huge part of my career.”
Speaking at the award ceremony, Actors Centre chairman Paul Clayton said “The career path I had 40 years ago was much more defined and it was easier to sustain a place in the world of work.
“But now it’s essential that actors are also thinking about creating work themselves so it is not other people who are in charge of your career all the time.
“I don’t think the problem lies in actors getting a place at drama school, but it lies in turning your three-year course and considerable investment into a career.”
Dumezweni added: “I think it’s such a privilege to witness people starting out, with an amazing group of judges who are great at their work.
“My little thing about the Actors Centre is that I used to work here in the cafe years and years ago, because I didn’t go to drama school, I thought, ‘Where can I be the closest to actors? I’ll work here and I will try and go to classes.’”