The Drama Department at St Mary’s University, Twickenham recently celebrated the award of the 2020 Eric Yardley Bursary to two of its students, Jed Kerby (BA Acting) and Katie Norman (BA Technical Theatre).
Jed was described as being a “positive presence in the classroom” and Katie as having a “get up and go attitude.”
Each received a bursary award of £1,250 and were celebrated by the cohort of students and supportive academic team in attendance.
The Eric Yardley Bursary has been awarded since 2019 to Drama St Mary's students who would benefit from financial support, show great promise in their respective areas of acting or technical theatre, and the enthusiasm to make a success of their career in the industry. As with last year the £2,500 bursary has been split equally between two students.
The award ceremony was held via a Zoom call with Director of Drama St Mary's Imogen Bond hosting, alongside Head of 2nd Year Acting Olusola Oyeleye and Head of Technical Theatre Paul Stowe. Bill Compton a Trustee of the Eric Yardley Trust spoke about Eric, who founded the Youth Action Theatre in 1970 and committed his life to the theatre and the arts. Alumni of the Youth Action Theatre include actors Martin Freeman and Rufus Sewell.
Eric passed away in 2012 and as part of his legacy he wanted to support and recognise acting and technical theatre students, particularly those facing financial barriers.
The Trustees approached St Marys in 2018 with the idea of the Bursary, which will continue for another three years.