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Neeve Dilworth.

Neeve Dilworth, who studies at The Hammond in Chester, is one of 19 drama students from across the UK who have been awarded Laurence Olivier Bursaries by the Society of London Theatre (SOLT). From the autumn, Neeve will be embarking on the third year of her University of Chester BA Hons Musical Theatre Performance degree course at The Hammond.

Established by SOLT in 1987 to mark Laurence Olivier’s 80th birthday, the bursaries provide support to exceptional students entering their final year of drama school, to help them complete their training.       

As well as actors Ewan McGregor and Michael Sheen, previous bursary winners have included Bryony Hannah, from BBC One's Call the Midwife, and Paterson Joseph, known for starring in Royal Shakespeare Company productions and films such as The Beach.

Nominees, put forward by drama school principals across the UK, are auditioned on a West End stage and interviewed by a panel of theatre industry professionals, led by West End producer and Chair of the Laurence Olivier Bursaries Committee, Lee Menzies. This year’s auditions took place at St Martin’s Theatre in June.

Neeve, from Warrington, said it was wonderfully unexpected to be nominated by The Hammond and to be chosen by the panel from the 45 who auditioned. 

“Going to London and singing and acting on the West End stage was an amazing experience. It was lovely to share the experience with my dad who accompanied me.

“To be awarded the scholarship was the cherry on the cake - I feel extremely privileged. It will make a big difference, and I’m very grateful for the support.”

The 19-year-old added: “Working in musical theatre or performing is the big dream, and in the longer term, I’d love to open a music and drama school with my sister.”

The Hammond School is one of the leading providers of performing arts in the North West, and is highly respected throughout the world. Delivering the University of Chester-validated BA Hons Musical Theatre Performance course, it is located at Hoole Bank, only a 10-minute drive from the University’s Exton Park (Parkgate Road) site, with students having access to University facilities and support.

The 19 students from across the UK have been awarded a total of £77,500 worth of bursaries by SOLT.                                             

The 2022 bursary recipients will be formally presented with their awards at a later date, with plans to celebrate their achievements to be revealed soon.

SOLT represents approximately 230 London-based producers, theatre owners and managers, including all the major subsidised theatrical organisations in London. The Society runs the Olivier Awards, West End LIVE, Kids Week, Inspiring Future Theatre, Official London Theatre and a variety of other industry events and initiatives.

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