Budding Bath actors get help from Next Stage Theatre Company
Aspiring actors and actresses have benefited from the first round of a new bursary scheme for Bath.
The Next Stage Theatre Company has launched the grant-giving project for existing and former members of its youth company.
It has been named Come You Giants after the final line of the play Jerusalem, which has been performed twice by the theatre group this year.
The CYG pot will be used to pay for professional training, coaching, education, help with Next Stage Youth fees, National Youth Theatre course fees, or one-off training workshops.
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Among the first six winners of bursaries – to be called CYGnets – was 21-year-old Flo Smith, a member of the youth company for nearly four years who is heading into the final year of a musical theatre degree at the Arts Educational Schools in London. She was given £500 towards her final year's tuition fees.
She said: "The CYG grant will be invaluable since the forthcoming year sees me preparing for final showcase productions, and with very little time either in the week, or at weekends, for part-time jobs. It is a thrill and an honour to be one of the first CYGnets."
Another beneficiary was Ollie Gardner, who played the lead role in Billy Elliot in the West End three years ago, and has taken key parts in Blood Brothers and His Dark Materials with Next Stage Youth.
A grant helped to pay the fees for a National Youth Theatre course this summer.
Money has also gone to Poppy Harrison for an introduction to drama course at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, and to Amy Baldwin, Eliza Perry and Flora Stone to help with the fees for the week-long STARS Summer School at Next Stage's Mission Theatre.
Next Stage artistic director Ann Garner said: "I am delighted that Next Stage is now in a position to offer modest financial help to some of our very talented young actors. The adult company has been blessed in recent years with many generous people believing in our work and offering financial support.
"Without their generosity, the Mission Theatre and Next Stage's work here would not have flourished to the extent it has.
"The CYG Bursary Fund is our way of starting to repay so much help and support and also to invest in the next generation of theatre practitioners."
Ms Garner has secured Jerusalem writer Jez Butterworth's backing for the use of his line in the scheme's title.