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Talented actors in Next Stage Youth receive generous bursary grants to further their careers

Posted: Friday 30 September, 2016

Next Stage Theatre Company’s Come You Giant’s Bursary Scheme (CYG) has been helping young performers further their training in the arts since 2012.

To date, CYG has helped 13 young people - known as CYGnets - by assisting with funding for training, degrees, foundation courses, LAMDA exams, Youth Theatre fees, Summer Schools and other activities in which the recipients have improved and furthered their performing skills and experiences. Following are the stories from the latest set of successful CYGnets.

Jenny McGlynn 18 used the money awarded her last year to help her fund a theatre trip to Canada with ITV West Television Workshop. Once there she played Don Jon in Much Ado About Nothing at the Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan Festival in Saskatoon. Jenny says: “The whole experience was a truly unforgettable one, and one of the highlights for me was experiencing first hand just how timeless yet still relevant Shakespeare’s work is across the world. In addition, I relished the challenge of exploring and gaining a fuller understanding of the Shakespearian language. It was an invaluable opportunity, igniting my love for acting even further, and would not have been possible without the help of Ann Ellison and the Come You Giants bursary fund from Next Stage. So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.”

Jenny McGlynn in Canada

Jenny and the cast of Much Ado About Nothing in Canada

Issy Jacob 17 used her award from the Bursary to fund a year’s membership of Next Stage Youth Theatre Company 2015-2016.
Issy says of her time with Next Stage Youth: “I am so grateful for the funding I received from Come You Giants towards my Next Stage Youth fees. It has enabled me to have a fun and exciting year with the company, as well as helping me to develop my skills as an actor. The experience with the mentors and other ‘Youthers’ provides a fresh environment that I cannot access through school or other drama groups, and I have found that the variety of different platforms in which I have worked, have all fed into each other.”

Issy Jacob as Grandmama in The Witches with Next Stage Youth

Issy performing

Abi Harvey was awarded funding from the CYG Bursary to go towards paying for LAMDA tuition in 2015 and 2016, with the view to completing her Grade 6 Acting qualification. Abi says: “I am delighted to have received such a generous amount of money to help me fund my LAMDA tuition in 2015 and 2016. I have just completed my Acting Grade 6 exam and am now waiting to find out my result. I am also looking forward to taking part in Great Expectations with Next Stage Youth, in which I play the role of young Estella. Thank you again for supporting my acting - it means so much to me.”


Abi during LAMDA tuition sessions

Abi as Tinkerbell in Peter Pan with Next Stage Youth in 2015

This summer, Kris Rose 20, a member of Next Stage Youth for two years before he joined the adult company in 2015, took part in two Acting Summer Schools, both of which were part-funded by the CYG Bursary fund. In June, Kris joined a group of American students taking part in the Advanced Studies in England Theatre Summer School, and spent five weeks working on various aspects of theatre and performance, including trips to London and Stratford and all culminating in a show at the beginning of July in which Kris explored restoration and modern drama.

Kris’s over-riding ambition is to be an actor so he was thrilled when a considerable CYG grant this June also helped him to take up a place on a RADA Contemporary Summer School in London in August.
Kris says: I don’t believe without these courses I would have the level of confidence and the amount of ideas in my head on how to tackle different characters and different plays. Attendance would not have been possible for me without the CYG bursary and I am eternally grateful to Next Stage Theatre Company for allowing me this opportunity. The skills I have learnt and the confidence I have gained have opened up a lot of doors to me that would have otherwise been firmly shut. This whole experience has given me the extra push of motivation, inspiration and self-belief to convince to audition for a place as a full-time RADA student. The two courses have in many ways been more than just ‘training’, because I now have many friends all over the world from whom I have learned huge amounts.

Kris Rose in performance with the ASE Summer School

Kris at RADA

Ben Armstrong 18 was awarded significant funding from the Come You Giants Bursary in June this year to help him with his tuition fees on the Birmingham Acting Foundation Course which he is currently attending. Ben has been with Next Stage Youth since 2011 and in that time has been an outstanding member of the company, winning the Bridget Casse Trophy for Excellence in Youth Theatre in 2014. Ben has performed leading roles in both our adult and Youth shows, including having the exciting experience of performing at the Minack Theatre in Cornwall when Next Stage toured The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to this prestigious venue. Ben played Peter in the production.
Ben says: I am very grateful for the support that Come You Giants has given me for my Foundation Course this year. I have just finished the course and I have got a lot out of it. I received classes in Voice, Acting Technique, Acting Tutorial, Improvisation, Project Work, Singing, Dance and Stage Combat.
I have improved in all of these areas, in particular my spontaneity through improvisation and my ability to create believable characters in Acting Technique. I know that I wouldn’t be in this position if I didn’t have access to the funding from Come You Giants that has enabled me to do this course.
Come You Giants is a brilliant initiative which I am sure will benefit many other Next Stage Youthers as it has done for me. I am looking forward to starting work on Birdsong with Next Stage where I am excited to use what I have learnt at Birmingham and put it into Next Stage productions.


Ben Armstrong at the Birmingham School of Acting


Ben Armstrong and Jenny McGlynn playing Peter and Lucy respectively in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe at the Minack Theatre in 2015

Artistic Director Ann Ellison BEM said of the CYG recipients: Next Stage Theatre Company has always celebrated the talents of its younger members. Every week, over forty 11-18 year olds meet at The Mission Theatre on a Sunday and work on theatre skills and production techniques. What they learn during each session gives them self-confidence, extends their acting range, teaches them a variety of staging options and helps them with their interpretation of often demanding roles. But above all, NSY gives so many young people in Bath and beyond life-long friendships. Since 1994 thousands of NSYouthers have enjoyed the fun and comradeship of the weekly NSY sessions and strong teamwork and loyalties are evidenced in all their activities. The Come You Giants Bursary was set up specifically to provide financial support for any of our young members who aspire to further artistic training and the recipients in the last two years have all been outstanding. It is truly life-affirming to work with and amongst so much young talent and to see how confidently our Youthers progress into the adult world. A number stay in touch and indeed some come back after training and work alongside me helping to train the next generation of Next Stage Youthers. I should like to congratulate them all on their achievements and wish them every good luck as they pursue their dreams to work in theatre.

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