2006 Awardee: Dominique Collins

Dominique thanks you for this opportunity and promises to fulfil her obligation .. in striving to be the best that she can be during the next year. (Linda Collins, mother)

Biography

Now living in Dumbarton, Dominique started dancing at the age of 12. After only one year she won the Scottish Junior Modern Championship and the Scottish Senior Modern Championship the following year.

Her early dance teachers consider her to be one of the most talented Scottish dancers at the moment. She also has an exceptional singing voice. Dominique is made of the stuff all dance teachers dream of, a combination of exciting raw talent and dedicated to hard work.

Dominique has been offered a scholarship at Laines Theatre Arts in Surrey, one of the premier musical theatre schools.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Awards will help with the considerable costs of living and studying in Surrey. Dominique’s funding has been extended for a second year, and subsequently a third year.

Dominique thanks you for this opportunity and promises to fulfil her obligation .. in striving to be the best that she can be during the next year. (Linda Collins, mother)

2008 Awardee: Samantha Shields

I am incredibly thankful that my nomination was successful and extremely grateful that I have won this prestigious award to help me study. This means the world to me!

Biography

Glasgow-born Samantha Shields has already had a taste of film acting, having played the lead role in the Scottish feature film “Wild Country” alongside Peter Capaldi and Martin Compston. But her first love is of musical theatre. Samantha started her training at Stow College, where her formidable talent and skills were first noticed.

After gaining a degree in theatre performance at Stow College Samantha appeared in the production of the musical ‘Faeries’ at the Edinburgh Festival, where she attracted attention. She has won a place on the Master of  Musical Theatre Course at RSAMD, despite having had no formal training in singing. Samantha is seen as hardworking, reliable and extremely talented, a winning combination.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award will help with Samantha’s costs to complete the course.

Since the Award

Samantha writes that the biggest moment of the year was playing Mamie Eisenhower in First Lady Suite at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, for which she got tremendous reviews. Her most surreal moment was seeing her image on the side of Glasgow buses and on Irn Bru bottles after she was cast as the lead girl in the IRN BRU MUSICAL campaign. After graduating, Samantha played a lead role in a new play at the Oran Mor Theatre and made a short film which will go on the film festival circuit in late 2009.

I am incredibly thankful that my nomination was successful and extremely grateful that I have won this prestigious award to help me study. This means the world to me!

2007 Awardee: Derek McGhie

I am delighted to accept my award and .. thank you for this very generous offer. I feel privileged to receive it.

Biography

Hailing from Lanarkshire, Derek McGhie has worked as an actor for ten years. He has impressed with his talent, creativity and sheer determination to get on in his chosen art form.

Derek brings great passion, commitment and integrity to any role he plays. His long-term ambition has been to pursue a career in musical theatre and so he grasped with both hands the opportunity to pursue a Masters in Performance in Musical Theatre at the RSAMD. This study will help Derek to build on what is already a promising career.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award will help with the tuition fees for the Masters course.

Since the Award

After a successful year at RSAMD, during which time Derek represented the Academy at the Student Sondheim Society Singer of the Year Awards in London, he went straight into his first role as the Tin Man in the Citizen’s production of The Wizard of Oz.  He writes, “I have no doubt that without my training I would not have gained this role.”

I am delighted to accept my award and .. thank you for this very generous offer. I feel privileged to receive it.

2007 Awardee: Jamie Keen

I am so excited about the future because I believe in myself and believe that I can make it. Without the Dewar Award, I would not be who or where I am today. Words cannot express the gratitude that I have … because you have helped me in reaching the beginning of my career.

Biography

A former pupil of the Dance School of Scotland in Knightswood, Irvine’s Jamie Keen has his eyes firmly set on London’s West End theatres. Jamie is now studying Dance and Theatre Performance at Kent’s Bird College. His dance tutor considers Jamie to have the potential to become a dancer in either a classical/contemporary dance company or to enter into musical theatre. He is equally talented as a singer.

Jamie is described as a talented, dedicated and special performer with a rare energy and passion in his performance. He is a performer with ‘star quality’.

At the age of 12, Jamie danced the part of Young Romeo in the Scottish Ballet’s 2000 tour of ‘Romeo and Juliet’. While he was at Knightswood’s Dance School he performed in front of Princess Anne and more recently he was involved in the premier showing of the new advanced two modern theatre dance syllabus for the Imperial Society for Teachers of Dance.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award will help support Jamie through his studies in Dance and Theatre Performance at the Bird College.

Since the Award

In 2009, Jamie graduated from Bird College with a first class degree.  He writes, “I have learned that living as an artist is never going to be easy. Times will be tough, for example when there are very little performing jobs around meaning income is never secure. However, living as an artist is also extremely rewarding. ..Entertaining people takes them to a place where they can forget all about their own personal troubles and make them smile. That to me is the best feeling in the world, when you can see that you are making other people happy.”

I am so excited about the future because I believe in myself and believe that I can make it. Without the Dewar Award, I would not be who or where I am today. Words cannot express the gratitude that I have … because you have helped me in reaching the beginning of my career.

2007 Awardee: Jodie Oliver

I am eternally grateful for this award as it will help me complete my course and fulfil a dream.

Biography

Edinburgh-born Jodie Oliver has been passionate about music since the age of five when she first began piano lessons. Her love of musical theatre started when she became involved with the National Youth Musical Theatre as a teenager. Jodie started off at Edinburgh University studying for a law degree, but soon realised she had made a mistake in not following her first love. She switched to music and recently graduated with an honours degree.

Jodie’s interest has always been in directing musical theatre, although this is not an easy path for a female to follow. She directed many productions in Edinburgh before moving to London to try to establish a career for herself and build a name for herself. Shortly after the move, Mountview Academy announced the start of a new postgraduate course in Musical Directing. The course was open to only one student, with the aim of developing them to be able to direct a West End musical on completion. Jodie was selected for that place.

As this achievement testifies, Jodie is considered to be a new and exciting talent in musical theatre, with energy and creative passion to match.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award will help towards the costs of Jodie’s course.

Since the Award

After successfully completing the course, Jodie was signed up by a London agent. Interesting projects which she began working on immediately include the London run of the musical Mathilde and a European tour of The 12 Tenors.

I am eternally grateful for this award as it will help me complete my course and fulfil a dream.

2007 Awardee: John Burlington

Thank you for this amazing award. I am very grateful.

Biography

From the age of 2, John has loved to dance and showed from the start that he had unusual talent. Despite the success of films like ‘Billy Elliot’, it is still tough for a boy to pursue a career in dancing.

Hailing from Motherwell, John has had his share of bullying and teasing. However, according to one of his early dance teachers ‘his understanding of his potential helped him through those difficult teenage years’.

John’s early dance training was at some of the leading dance schools for young people in Scotland. In 1994 he performed in a production of ‘Oliver!’ at the London Palladium. He has also worked regularly in pantomime and in 1999 won the Young Dancer of the Year Competition in North Lanarkshire.

In 2006 John won a funded place at the renowned Bird College, Kent to study dance and theatre performance. His dream is to dance on the West End stage.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Awards is helping to fund John through the first year of his studies at Bird College.

After demonstrating excellent progress in his studies, John’s funding was continued for a further two years. He writes, “I feel I have progressed well …[and] consider myself now to be technically stronger which has given me a good base on which to further my technique and strength.”

Since the Award

While still at college, John was invited to audition for Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake and offered a reserve position in the production. After gaining a good degree, John was signed immediately by an agency and offered a position as singer/dancer on a six-star world cruise ship.

Thank you for this amazing award. I am very grateful.

2007 Awardee: Samantha Blaney

I very much appreciate this opportunity and what it enables me to achieve.

Biography

Wishaw-born Samantha Blaney began studying musical theatre at Motherwell College before going on to win a place on the RSAMD’s MA in Performance in Musical Theatre.

Samantha is considered to be a talented all-rounder, in drama, singing and dance, with a successful career in the theatre ahead of her. Her main reason for going back to college to pursue a Master of Musical Theatre was that she found herself in a point in her career where she felt she needed to expand her skills in order to sustain a long-term career in the theatre.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award will contribute towards the costs of the tuition fees at RSAMD.

Since the Award

Samantha writes that the most rewarding part of the year was forming a repertory company with her fellow students and performing in three of the four productions the company took to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. At the end of the year, after the showcases in Glasgow and London, Samantha was noticed by a clutch of industry representatives and was signed immediately by an agent. She was also approached by Channel 4 with a view to appearing in a short film.

I very much appreciate this opportunity and what it enables me to achieve.

2005 Awardee: Susan McCathie

I am so overwhelmed by your support and cannot thank you enough. You have given me the opportunity to move one step closer to my dream

Biography

Susan McCathie gained a first-class honours degree in music teaching at the University of Aberdeen. Her singing tutor was struck by the potential of her singing, both by her technical ability and her artistic response to the music she was performing. She received maximum marks at her end of year assessments.

In gaining a place on the prestigious Royal Academy of Music’s one-year postgraduate Musical Theatre course, Susan beat off some serious competition. Over 1,500 people applied for the 30 places given.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award funded Susan on the one-year postgraduate Musical Theatre course at the Royal Academy of Music, London.

Since the Award

Susan graduated with a Postgraduate Diploma in Performance, gaining a distinction in all but one subject.  She continues to write songs, and to sing, act and teach singing.

I am so overwhelmed by your support and cannot thank you enough. You have given me the opportunity to move one step closer to my dream

2005 Awardee: Sophie Boyne

I have been doing well in my course and enjoying it immensely. Getting this award means I can concentrate on my course work without having to worry about when I can work

Biography

Sophie started to learn to sing at the age of two and to learn to dance at three. Her first audition was at the age of five in Aberdeen for The Sound of Music.

By the time she was 18, Sophie had been a member of Aberdeen Youth Music Theatre for seven years and been accepted into the National Youth Music Theatre three times (once as the youngest person, twice as the only Scot).

She has performed twice at the Edinburgh Festival, danced in The Nutcracker with both Siaga Ballet in Japan and with the Scottish Ballet and toured with Atomic Kitten, Liberty X and Steps. When she supported one of her favourite pop bands 5ive, she performed solo in front of a 15,000 crowd at the Glasgow Exhibition and Conference Centre.

How the Award Helped

Since she was thirteen, Sophie dreamed of becoming a performer. Being accepted by the Guildford School of Music and Drama brought her a huge step closer to the fulfilment of that dream.

Since the Award

Sophie graduated in 2008 with a first class honours. After the final Showcase she was signed up by an agent and immediately walked into a job at Greenwich Theatre playing the female lead in ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ where she got excellent reviews. Sophie writes, “without the scholarship I would have not been able to accept my place at Guildford School of Acting.”

I have been doing well in my course and enjoying it immensely. Getting this award means I can concentrate on my course work without having to worry about when I can work

2005 Awardee: Ross Dickson

I worked with some of the best teachers at college and I was hugely influenced by many of them.

Biography

Ross is Dumbarton’s own ‘Billy Elliott’. He started dancing at the age of eight and quickly showed talent.

Natural-born talent, combined with dedication and commitment to his craft, helped Ross become a Senior Associate of the Scottish Ballet and go on to win most of the major Scottish prizes in tap and modern dance. In 2005 he became Scottish Tap and Modern Champion.

Ross is now studying musical theatre at the Doreen Bird College in Sidcup, Kent. As his dance teacher writes, “being a boy in the West of Scotland who wants to dance brings many challenges.” Facing these challenges has given Ross the determination and single-mindedness he needs in order to make a successful career in musical theatre.

How the Award Helped

Ross received a Dewar Arts Award towards his studies at the Bird College in Kent.

Since the Award

After a difficult start at college, Ross put his head down and worked extra hard to improve. He was cast in two numbers in the end of year show, roles which are usually reserved for second and third year students, which, he said, gave his confidence a massive boost.

By the second year he joined the Bird Theatre Company on its tour to Portugal and in year three was cast in one of the lead roles of the third-year musical. Before Ross graduated he was offered a place on a cruise ship as a dancer.

When back in the UK, Ross joins in classes at Scottish Ballet and does the rounds of auditions. Ross is now living his dream.

I worked with some of the best teachers at college and I was hugely influenced by many of them.