21 July 2008

Outstanding success for East 15 students

Loughton Campus

Outstanding success for East 15 students 

East 15 students have won the Laurence Olivier Bursary for an unprecedented seventh time!

The most prestigious award in the drama school world, and only open to students from accredited drama schools, the Laurence Olivier Bursary 2008 is worth £7,500 and was given to East 15’s Frances McNamee.

Frances, who is from Durham and on the second-year of her BA Acting course, said: “I was thrilled as I really didn’t expect to win. I went in thinking that this would just be a really good experience and an opportunity to be on stage in front of some rather important people. So, when I found out I’d won, I nearly fainted. It was amazing, such a great day!”

“I am going to use some of the money now for headshots and the like but I will save most of it for my third year and graduation, as I can use it to help me then when I’m trying to break into the industry.”

Two other East 15 students on this course have also been given awards, with Thomas Nelson winning a prize worth £2,500 as part of the Laurence Olivier Bursary and Daniel Jenkins awarded the Sir John Gielgud Bursary of £4,000.

Jill Colby, Head of Second Year BA Acting and tutor to these students, said: “East 15 is deeply honoured to have both our nominated students awarded major bursaries from the Laurence Olivier Trust. It is particularly gratifying as this is as a result of both an acting and a singing audition in competition with all the accredited courses.”

“Another of our nominees, Daniel Jenkins, was awarded the Sir John Gielgud Bursary as a result of outstanding achievement over his second year. The money available to students via these schemes is an invaluable help to them over the expensive third year of their course, when the long hours often preclude working for the extras that student loans can’t provide. Photographs alone can cost anything from £300 to £600. We are both proud of our students and appreciative of the help that these trusts, from the funds of two of our most distinguished actors from the past, can give to promising actors of the future.”


One of the UK's most innovative acting schools, East 15 has been providing professional training for those wishing to work in theatre, film, TV, radio and related fields for more than 45 years. It has a campus in Loughton, on the eastern borders of London and, in September 2000, became part of the University of Essex. Since then a strategy has been developed to expand East 15's provision to the University's new campus in Southend-on-Sea. Alumni of East 15 include actresses Alison Steadman and Annette Badland, former Coronation Street star Jenny Platt, playwright April de Angelis, former artistic director of The Bush Theatre, Mike Bradwell, and director Stephen Daldry, nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe for his feature films The Hours and Billy Elliott. For further information about East 15, please contact East 15 Acting School on telephone: 020 8508 5983 or e-mail: east15@essex.ac.uk

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