Laurence Olivier Bursaries awarded to talented students

Montage of actors Georgina Arthur and Matthew Underhill

Two final-year Acting students have been awarded Laurence Olivier Bursaries by the Society of London Theatre (SOLT) to support their studies.

The bursaries were offered to Georgina Arthur and Matthew Underhill after they shone in auditions on a West End stage. The students were also interviewed by a panel of theatre industry professionals during the rigorous selection process.

Laurence Olivier Bursaries are offered to exceptional students entering their final year of study by SOLT to help students who are facing financial difficulties that may jeopardise their studies.

The SOLT was established in 1987 to mark Laurence Olivier’s 80th birthday. Previous bursary winners have included actors Ewan McGregor and Michael Sheen.

Senior Lecturer in Acting Danièle Sanderson said: “I am thrilled for Matt and Georgie to be recognised and supported by SOLT with these bursaries. Both are worthy recipients. The bursaries provide much appreciated financial support, but as important is the recognition from industry representatives who see the potential and talent of these two young actors.”

Matthew Underhill said: “Getting put forward for the Laurence Olivier Bursary was a real honour and to get to audition alongside Georgi was such a great experience. For both of us to come out successful is not only a huge relief individually but a great reflection on the school itself. The audition is one of the best opportunities I've had while at RBC. It was great to put the last two years of training to use in front of a panel of industry professionals who I now have at my disposal to contact in my final year of training. Walking out to perform on a West End stage for the first time is something I'll never forget.

“Personally, I will use the money generously donated by The Behrens Foundation to help manage my chronic illness. It will allow me to afford the specific diet I need to be able to perform at my best and afford transport should the condition flair up. This award will allow me to get the most out of my final year at drama school. If my third year is anything like the first two, I can't wait to see what opportunities lie ahead.”

Georgina Arthur added: “Securing this bursary has massively alleviated external stresses. It means not only can I walk into my final year of study fully focused, but I can also take a moment this summer to rest and recharge for the first time since I started at RBC. I am so incredibly grateful for the support and motivation this has given me, and I can't wait to put it to use when making my transition into the industry.”

Pictured: Georgina Arthur and Matthew Underhill

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