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Society of London Theatre awards £72,500 in bursaries to help students complete training

Sixteen drama school students have been awarded a total of £72,500 worth of bursaries by the Society of London Theatre to help them complete their training.

As part of this, 10 students have been awarded a Laurence Olivier Bursary, which range from £500 to £7,500 and were established by SOLT in 1987 to mark the 80th birthday of Olivier.

Nominees were put forward by drama school principals before undergoing auditions on a West End stage and interviews with a panel of industry figures led by West End producer and chair of the Laurence Olivier Bursaries Committee, Lee Menzies.

SOLT also announced Manchester School of Theatre Student Paul Kennedy as the recipient of the Clothworkers’ Foundation bursary, which is worth £37,500 over five years and is given by the Clothworkers’ Foundation.

In addition, the recipients of the Laurence Olivier Bursary and Doreen Jones and Mary Selway Bursary 2018, the Behrens Foundation Bursary 2018 and the Carmen Silvera Bursary 2018 have also been announced.

The bursaries support students entering their final year of drama school who are facing financial difficulties that may threaten their studies. Previous winners include Denise Gough, Paterson Joseph and Ewan McGregor.

They were formally presented during a ceremony at the SOLT offices in London on September 20.

Menzies said: “Each year we are astounded by the talent and dedication of the bursary recipients – individuals who, despite financial hardship, are pushing forward to realise their potential.

“Many have made sacrifices to continue their studies, and without assistance we risk losing gifted performers to other industries. Drama courses require a huge amount of hard work; these bursaries give performers the freedom to focus on their studies without financial pressure.”

Laurence Olivier Bursary recipients 2018

Bursaries donated by SOLT:

Esme Allen (Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama)
Rosie Clay (SLP College)
Ruby Crepin-Glyne (Oxford School of Drama)
Amesh Edireweera (Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama)
Louis Ellis (Academy of Live and Recorded Arts)
Jasmine Jones (Guildhall School of Music and Drama)
Mirren Mack (Guildhall School of Music and Drama)
Aidan Nightingale (Bodywork Company)
Melissa Shirley Rose (Drama Studio London)
Samuel Stafford (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art)

Laurence Olivier Bursary and Doreen Jones and Mary Selway Bursary 2018
(Donated by SOLT and the Casting Directors’ Guild)

Samuel Adebayo (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art)

Behrens Foundation Bursary 2018
(Donated by the Behrens Foundation)

Ojan Genc (Drama Centre London)
Aron Julius (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art)
Shaofan Wilson (Oxford School of Drama)

Carmen Silvera Bursary 2018
(Donated by agent Barry Burnett)

Beshlie Thorp (Bristol Old Vic Theatre School)

The Clothworkers’ Laurence Olivier Bursary 2018
(Donated by the Clothworkers’ Foundation)

Paul Kennedy (Manchester School of Theatre)