Business-backed Old Vic scheme helps youngsters take first steps to acting careers

July 16, 2013

A pilot community scheme launched by a group of Bristol firms to help budding young actors join Bristol Old Vic’s Young Company has awarded its first bursaries.

The payments, at the end of the first year of the three-year pilot scheme, have been made to six talented youngsters who took part in COMPANY, an outreach project which encourages children from disadvantaged areas to get involved with the theatre. The scheme is funded by the Bristol offices of accountancy and investment management group Smith & Williamson, law firm DAC Beachcroft and barristers Guildhall Chambers.

From the 300-plus young people from across Bristol take part in weekly sessions, community projects and full-scale productions staged by COMPANY, the six have received bursaries to the Bristol Old Vic’s Young Company.

Mike Lea, trustee of the Bristol Old Vic and managing partner at the Bristol office of Smith & Williamson, said: “This was a fantastic pilot project that matched the theatre’s resources and wealth of experience to the educational needs of children in Bristol. I hope that this unique initiative is adopted by many more schools in the area in due course. These pupils would rarely, if ever, get the opportunity to benefit from a scheme like this, so it was pleasure to be involved, as a trustee, as well as a sponsor.”

COMPANY organiser Lucy Hunt added: “Due to generous commitment from our sponsors, we were able to seamlessly carry out the project and with great success. Pupil participation and the positive feedback we have received from teachers and parents has certainly exceeded expectations.”

Bristol Old Vic was able to offer six Bristol schools the chance to participate including Metropolitan Academy (Fishponds), Bedminster Down School, Merchant's Academy, Nailsea School, School of Christ the King (Knowle), The Park (Knowle).

The bursaries went to Rosie-May Norman (The Park, Knowle), Anna Richardson (Nailsea School), Ellie-Brooke Lovell (School of Christ the King), Billy Raffety (Metropolitan Academy), Chloe-Ann Taylor (Bedminster Down) and Jemma Dove (Merchant’s Academy).

For more information on the scheme go to:

Pictured: Back Row, from left: Tony Cherry of DAC Beachcroft, Mike Lea of Smith  & Williamson, Adrian Palmer of Guildhall Cambers, Rosie May Norman and Billy Raffety. Front Row from left: Ellie-Brooke Lovell, Chloe-Ann Taylor, Jemma Dove and Anna Richardson


Comments are closed.


Reach tens of thousands of senior business people across Bristol for just £120 a month. Email for more information.