2013 Awardee: Jennifer Neil

It is a massive dream of mine to got to London and the course I have been accepted onto is perfect for me

Biography

Passionate about musical theatre, Jennifer is a performer with rare talent.  She has a strong voice with a rare ability to sing in any muscal theatre style and bring a song vividly to life.  She also has a flair for acting, particularly comedic, and a natural capacity for dance.

Originally from Cartyne, Glasgow, Jennifer studied at the Dance School of Scotland.  In 2012, she was the recipient of the Singers Company Music Theatre Award and also won First Prize in the Dance School of Scotland’s Vocal Awards.

Jennifer received an offer to study a one-year intensive course at the London School of Musical Theatre.  This was an opportunity for her to develop her skills and take the next step in becoming a professional performer.

How the Award Helped

Jennifer’s Dewar Award funded her course at the London School of Musical Theatre.

It is a massive dream of mine to got to London and the course I have been accepted onto is perfect for me

2012 Awardee: Ella Victoria Robb (Victoria Marella Leech)

To quote one of my favourite Musical Theatre songs; "I may be small, but I have giant plans to shine as brightly as the sun". Thanks to the Dewar Arts Award, my dreams are just beginning!

Biography

Born in Glasgow, Ella became a member of the Scottish Youth Theatre from a young age.  Progressing through the company and building her skills, she demonstrated a commitment to learning her craft and to pursuing a career in the arts.  It was her enthusiasm, supportive nature and talent which gained her an invite to join the SYT’s high quality performance group, SYT Productions.

A skilled young performer, Ella is exceptionally talented in acting, singing and dancing, as well as playing the bagpipes and violin. It was her skills in these areas that led her to being employed as an assistant for the SYT’s weekly workshops.

Ella has a desire to be the best she can possibly be, and training is extremely important to her. She takes every opportunity to learn new skills and to experience new things. She is willing to take risks and has shown she has the talent, energy and drive necessary to succeed.

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How the Award Helped

Ella gained a place on the highly competitive BA(Hons) in Musical Theatre at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.  Her Dewar Arts Award helped to fund her studies.

To quote one of my favourite Musical Theatre songs; "I may be small, but I have giant plans to shine as brightly as the sun". Thanks to the Dewar Arts Award, my dreams are just beginning!

2011 Awardee: Hayley Johnson

I would like to thank the Dewar Arts Awards trustees sincerely for helping me

Biography

Glasgow-born Hayley is already a seasoned performer. She began dancing at the age of three and by five was winning competition medals and prizes.

By the time she was 10, Hayley became a Junior Associate of the Scottish Ballet, began acting in TV commercials and was a regular on the BBC children’s programme ‘The Saturday Show’.

When she was 11, Hayley auditioned successfully for the Dance School of Scotland and as a pupil there performed in Glasgow’s new Royal Concert Hall and the Theatre Royal.

Unusually for her age, Hayley has been accepted into Bird College, Kent to continue training in dance and theatre performance. She has also been awarded a Dance and Drama Award to cover most of the tuition fees.

At an early age, Hayley had an evident and natural performance quality and excels in both dance and performance. Her teachers anticipate her enjoying great success in her chosen career.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award will help towards the costs of studying at Bird College.

I would like to thank the Dewar Arts Awards trustees sincerely for helping me

2011 Awardee: Samantha Doherty

I would like to say a huge thanks to the trustees for this award. It is deeply appreciated and will help me concentrate on my dance studies without having to worry.

Biography

Hailing from Edinburgh, Samantha was awarded a scholarship to study at The Dance School of Scotland when she was twelve years old. While at The Dance School, she won a choreography competition which offered as a prize the chance of a life-time to study in Australia for 3 weeks.

Samantha is very versatile in all the genres of dance – classical ballet, contemporary dance and jazz – and is dedicated to a career in dance and performance.

She won a scholarship place at the well-known Bird College in Kent, to study dance and musical theatre performance for three years.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award will offer financial support towards the costs to study at Bird College.

I would like to say a huge thanks to the trustees for this award. It is deeply appreciated and will help me concentrate on my dance studies without having to worry.

2010 Awardee: Rebecca Donnelly

This means so much to me and has enabled me to stay at college and follow my dream.

Biography

Born and brought up in Glasgow, Rebecca stood out from an early age as possessing talent in acting, singing and dancing. As she developed, her dedication and commitment matched her talent and enthusiasm. Rebecca gained an A in Higher Music, scoring the highest possible mark for her singing exam.

Rebecca’s ambition is to perform on the main musical theatre stages of the world. Her tutors and mentors feel that this is a realistic ambition, given her exceptional triple threat qualities.

As part of the dance troupe “The Fusion”, Rebecca performed on live TV in the semi-finals of “Britain’s Got Talent” and later at the Glasgow show and also with “The X Factor” tour.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award will support Rebecca as she begins her studies in dance and musical theatre at the Bird College, Kent. Demonstrating good progress, Rebecca’s funding has been continued into a second year.

This means so much to me and has enabled me to stay at college and follow my dream.

2009 Awardee: Fergal McGoff

This award is very important to me and I would like to say thank you.

Biography

Edinburgh-born Fergal started his working life as a painter and decorator with a dream to perform on stage, but no support, guidance, or teaching. By chance, he did some decorating work for a choreographer, through whom he was invited to dance workshops. He was spotted very quickly as being an exceptionally gifted dancer and within a year had won a place at Bird College with a full DADA scholarship.

Fergal has both a natural talent and the look for musical theatre and has shown that he has the determination to succeed. He demonstrated to his early mentors that he is prepared to work hard to achieve his dream and he has the necessary drive and energy to succeed in musical theatre.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Awards have offered Fergal support for the first year of his studies at Bird College. His funding was continued for a second year. After a successful second year, Fergal’s support was extended for a third and final year.

This award is very important to me and I would like to say thank you.

2009 Awardee: Sean Reilly

I cannot put into words how grateful I am to have received this and I can only say thank you so much to the trustees for their belief in me. It means so much to me and this award will, without question, allow me to develop further as a dancer, as well as a performer.

Biography

When Sean Reilly, from Glasgow, was born, the doctors pronounced that he would never be able to walk because of clubbed feet. When he was four, he started to move to music, and Sean says that he has loved to dance ever since.

Sean entered Anniesland College at the age of 15 and is remembered as a quiet and shy person. His peers had not understood, or accepted, his love for dance and performance. During the next three years, in a very different and supportive environment, Sean was transformed into a dancer of promise who loves to perform. He subsequently won a place at the well-known Bird College in Kent to study musical theatre.

Sean’s real passion and talent is in jazz dance. When he returned to Anniesland College to perform in their GoDance Festival at Glasgow’s Theatre Royal he wowed the audience. He has just finished his first year at Bird College and was selected to perform in the College’s third year end of show contemporary piece, which is a huge accolade for a first-year student.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award will help towards Sean’s expenses in year two of his studies at Bird College.

I cannot put into words how grateful I am to have received this and I can only say thank you so much to the trustees for their belief in me. It means so much to me and this award will, without question, allow me to develop further as a dancer, as well as a performer.

2009 Awardee: Siobhan Kelly

I would be delighted and extremely grateful to accept this incredible award …[which] will …..allow me to continue my studies at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.

Biography

Siobhan Kelly was born and raised in one of the tougher areas of Glasgow. She showed talent at a young age, participating in Youth Theatre and various summer school productions. She studied dance at Stow College in Glasgow, from where she won Gold for contemporary dance in the UK Skills Awards.

Siobhan went on to study for a first degree in performing arts at Hull, before gaining a place on the Master of Musical Theatre Performance at Glasgow’s RSAMD. She has always shown a natural talent in the field of musical theatre possessing exceptional dancing, singing and acting talents.

Siobhan has appeared in many stage productions, many in leading roles. One of her best leading roles to date was as Viv Nicholson in ‘Spend, Spend, Spend’ with a striking performance and interpretation of role.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award will help towards the costs of studying at RSAMD.

Since the Award

Siobhan successfully graduated with an MA in Musical Theatre. Following the RSAMD showcase at the end of her course, Siobhan was signed with a top TV and theatre agent based in London and Manchester. She has already secured a number of roles and is auditioning for others.

I would be delighted and extremely grateful to accept this incredible award …[which] will …..allow me to continue my studies at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.

2009 Awardee: Terri O’Brien

I cannot begin to tell you how thankful I am [to receive the award]. I was on the verge of giving up my place before you graciously stepped in to help me!

Biography

Glasgow-based Terri O’Brien, whose stage name is Terri O’Ryan, started pursuing her ambition to work in musical theatre at the Glasgow Academy of Musical Theatre. She went on to study at Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts for three years, where she was considered to be one of the four top students of her year.

At LIPA she impressed particularly with her acting talent. In her second year, she had a major role in the workshop production of “The Boys in the Photograph” (formerly known as “The Beautiful Game”) with Andrew Lloyd Webber and Ben Elton. Ben was particularly impressed with the truthfulness of her work.

Terri won a coveted place on the postgraduate diploma course in musical theatre at the Royal Academy of Music, for which the competition is extremely fierce. Here she can develop her skills in acting, singing and dancing in order to progress to the West End stage.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award will help towards the fees for the postgraduate course at RAM.

Since the Award

Terri graduated in 2010 with a postgraduate diploma in musical theatre. She was signed up with a top London agent while still on the course. Terri writes of the course that as a result she feels a more established performer, “I know what I need to do in a practise room, but I also know exactly what I need to do in a situation that could end with me getting a job.”

I cannot begin to tell you how thankful I am [to receive the award]. I was on the verge of giving up my place before you graciously stepped in to help me!

2009 Awardee: Toby Lord

I was over the moon this morning to receive your letter….I would be thrilled to accept your generous offer.

Biography

Toby Lord, from South Queensferry, was spotted as ‘one to keep tabs on’ when he attended a workshop on stage combat while still a first-year acting student.

Currently in the final year of a degree course in musical theatre at Guildford School of Acting, Toby has developed into a skilled and exciting performer, recently showing dexterity and playfulness in his portrayal of Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew.

Toby’s particular passion is stage and screen combat in which he has already achieved impressive qualifications. His quick responses and awareness of his surroundings, as well as a great deal of hard work, have helped him to become an Advanced Actor Combatant. He will be in great demand for both TV and film work.

Toby has already been offered an apprenticeship with a fight director when he completes his degree.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award will help towards the expenses of his final year at Guildford.

Since the Award

Toby graduated with a good degree, was signed by an agent and landed the lead role in ‘Aladdin’ in the 2010 Christmas panto. During his final year at GSA, he worked with the Fight Director on a major new Disney blockbuster John Carter of Mars due for release in 2012, and through that work has been invited to work on the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie as part of the specialist fight crew.

I was over the moon this morning to receive your letter….I would be thrilled to accept your generous offer.