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Young actors celebrate success with annual Bridget Casse Award for Excellence in Youth Theatre

Posted: Tuesday 13 September, 2016

On Sunday 11th September 2016, Next Stage Theatre Company celebrated the talent and enthusiasm of its Next Stage Youth members when Ann Ellison, Artistic Director of the Company, and Alan Cassé presented The Bridget Cassé Award for Excellence in Youth Theatre. The trophy is presented annually to the Youth member who has shown the greatest talent, team work, dedication, helpfulness and positive attitude over the previous twelve months. This is the seventh year the prestigious trophy has been awarded.

This year’s winner was 17 year old Olivia Anniss, who joined Next Stage Youth in 2015. In that time, Olivia has been involved with the company’s December 2015 production of Peter Pan and, in March this year, played Abigail in an extract from The Crucible as part of the winning group in the Under 21 Acting class at the 2016 Mid Somerset Drama Festival. Throughout her time at Next Stage Youth, Olivia has consistently shown herself to be a dedicated and reliable member of the company, and she is a friendly and helpful addition to any cast she is a part of. Each Next Stage tutor feels that Olivia’s team-spirit, her eagerness to learn and follow direction, and her sunny outlook on life, make her worthy of the Bridget Cassé Award.
Olivia can next be seen playing the role of Miss Havisham in Great Expectations in February 2017.

The Award was established in 2010 by Next Stage actor Alan Cassé to commemorate the work of his wife Bridget who, as well as being a talented actor herself, was heavily involved with the Youth company as a tutor, language coach and mentor until her untimely death. 12 Youth members were nominated for The Bridget Cassé Award 2016. The list was proposed by the current adult tutors who have worked with NSY throughout the year on their major productions and entries for the Mid-Somerset Drama Festival.

Runner Up for the Bridget Cassé Award 2016 was 16 year old Will Greensides. Will has been a member of Next Stage Youth since 2012 and has consistently impressed tutors with his enthusiasm, sensitive character portrayals and team work.
Will took part in Next Stage’s May 2014 production of House & Garden, performing in front of playwright Sir Alan Ayckbourn at the age of 13. Will played the Dwarf in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe for Next Stage’s production of the C.S. Lewis story which played to sold-out audiences in Bath and on tour to the Minack Theatre, Cornwall in 2015. Will can next be seen playing Joe Gargery in the 2017 NSY production of Great Expectations.

In joint third place for the trophy and Highly Commended were 14 year old Hamish Row and 13 year old Max Dooley. These two talented young actors have recently been proving their excellent acting skills, superb teamwork, helpfulness and maturity as part of the large cast in rehearsal at the moment for The Dragon’s Dentist, to be performed next month. Hamish plays the main protagonist, Harry, in the play, and Max takes the (non-speaking) role of Harry’s horse, Oats in this joint Next Stage and NSYouth world-premiere production.

Artistic Director Ann Ellison said after the ceremony: “It is always a delight to recognise the immense wealth of talent in Next Stage Youth and what better way to do so than by awarding a trophy that celebrates the hard-work, team-work and determination needed to work in theatre. This year’s winner, Olivia Anniss, has demonstrated to all that she understands the importance of collaborative input in rehearsals. She has embraced with enthusiasm and talent the roles in which she has been cast in NSY productions since she became a member over a year ago. Our worthy runner up, Will Greensides, is a stalwart of the company and is constantly going above and beyond to help in any way he can. All nominees for this year’s Bridget Cassé Award deserve hearty congratulations and I wish them well in their forthcoming roles in ‘Great Expectations’ to be performed by the Youth Theatre in February 2017.”

Any 11-18 year olds wishing to join NSY should contact Ann Ellison at the Mission Theatre on 01225 428600 to put their name on the waiting list.

Further details and pictures on the Next Stage Youth page on this website.


Alan Casse with Olivia Anniss (Winner)

Alan Casse with Will Greensides (Runner up)

Alan Casse and Hamish Row (Highly Commended)

Alan Casse and Max Dooley (Highly Commended)

All nominees and winners

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