The recipients — Stella Gavey from Bathurst, NSW; Promise Mudzingwa from Tranmere, TAS; Hanna Bourke from Rockhampton, QLD and Grace Ebelebe from Darwin, NT — were selected by a panel including Bell Shakespeare’s Artistic Director Peter Evans and Founding Artistic Director John Bell.
The young actors will travel to Bell Shakespeare’s Sydney headquarters in January 2020 to undertake acting masterclasses and backstage tours, watch live performances and observe rehearsals of Hamlet, featuring Harriet Gordon-Anderson and Lisa McCune. At the end of the week-long program, they will each perform a Shakespeare monologue for the cast of Hamlet, before receiving expert feedback and career advice.
Peter Evans said Bell Shakespeare has been committed to sharing Shakespeare as widely as possible and nurturing talented young performers since its inception in 1990 when it began staging performances in theatres and schools around Australia.
"The John Bell Scholarship can be a life-changing experience for students from areas where these opportunities may not always be accessible, setting the stage for a career in theatre. One past recipient, Kuda Mapeza, recently made her professional stage debut in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child; another previous recipient is the amazing Miranda Tapsell.”
“This year Bell Shakespeare’s educators and actors auditioned 185 students around the country and it was thrilling to witness the incredible talent and enthusiasm of these young performers", he said.
Bell Shakespeare’s Executive Director Gill Perkins said that the scholarship is made possible thanks to the Company’s generous supporters.
"We are deeply grateful to the donors and government partners whose support enables us to provide this opportunity. In 2019, thanks to additional support from the Coca Cola Australia Foundation, we were able to extend our audition process even further and increase the number of recipients from three to four.
"We look forward to welcoming Stella, Promise, Hanna and Grace to Bell Shakespeare in January 2020," she said.
Ilana Atlas, Chairman of Coca-Cola Amatil Sydney, who nominated Bell Shakespeare for the Coca-Cola Australia Foundation Employee Connected Grant said, “As ex-Chairman and Director of Bell Shakespeare, I saw firsthand the transformative impact the John Bell Scholarship has on building brighter futures for gifted young performers. The scholarship is a once in a lifetime experience for these young people, who due to their remote location, wouldn’t ordinarily have access to these opportunities. I’m proud to be able to support the life-changing work Bell Shakespeare does through the Coca-Cola Foundation funding.”