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Guildford School of Acting student wins 2018 Alan Bates award

Alan Bates award Eilidh Loan Elliot Barnes-Worrell Eilidh Loan and Elliot Barnes-Worrell
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Eilidh Loan, a student at Guildford School of Acting, has won the Alan Bates award for the most promising actor in the final year of drama school.

The award was presented by stage and screen actor Elliot Barnes-Worrell at a ceremony at the Actors Centre on May 3. Barnes-Worrell won the award himself in 2012. The award is presented in association with The Stage.

More than 300 applicants sent in self tapes, with 100 going forward to four rounds of judging and workshops, which were then whittled down to six finalists.

Loan wins 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.

Loan told The Stage: “I feel very honoured to have this. It makes you feel so confident going out there in the industry as a drama school graduate and knowing you have this behind you and the Actors Centre to support you.”

Barnes-Worrell said: “Whatever Eilidh wants to do she’ll do. She’s a warrior woman. It was that energy and passion that got her the award.”

In his speech, Barnes-Worrell said that all the finalists had shown a commitment to greater inclusivity in the theatre industry during the selection process.

He said: “Every one of these people talked about supporting each other in their interviews. They’re talking about diversity and they’re talking about wanting to be part of the 50:50 movement.

“I had a hard time at drama school. It was probably the most miserable three years of my life. I was the only black person in my year.”

He added: “What blew me away about all of these guys is not only are they sensational actors but they also have compassion, and you need compassion to be any good at this work.”

This year, the Actors Centre has also run the John Thaw initiative alongside the Alan Bates programme. The initiative supports actors who are creating their own work. It has so far supported 14 projects, including four from the finalists of the Alan Bates award, including a new play from Loan called Moorcroft.

She said: “I’ve been working on it for a year and a half with my Dad, who isn’t an actor. It’s the story of a football team he started when he was young and deals with issues of how men come together to help each other through tough times.”

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