Twenty-two-year-old South Londoner Ayomide Adegun, currently in his second year of the BA Acting course at Royal Welsh Academy of Music & Drama, has been awarded The Luke Westlake Scholarship 2020. His professional credits include The Jumper Factory by Luke Barnes at the Young Vic.
In his application Ayomide Adegun said: “Acting changed my life, and put me on the straight and narrow, coming from a working-class background has benefited me in a sense that it enabled me to have a range of experiences to draw from. I decided to pursue drama school when I was 19 because I wanted to enhance my quality and improve my range and cast-ability, as I was always going up for the typical, rough, offender type character but I see myself as much more than that…
“The scholarship would mean so much to me because It would mean I could receive advice from industry professionals who are able to guide me and give me an inside view of what the industry is like and what it demands from a modern-day actor. It would also put financial worries behind me to give me the best chance of developing into the best version of myself after graduating.”
Across the board, he received the most votes, with all but one judge selecting him as their first or second pick. Co-founder Liam McLauchlin added: “This year we received 187 applications from 27 different institutions and schools across England, Wales and Scotland. This was a significant increase on last year, over triple the amount of applicants and 15 new institutions and schools.
“Despite our fears that this year’s scholarship would be hampered by the pandemic, the shortlist was an extremely difficult decision to make – so much so, we ended up adding two extra actors because they were so good. This year’s scholarship was incredibly important, as the pandemic has ruptured the heart of the theatre and performance industry – meaning the majority of actors at some point this year have lost work. We hope the scholarship highlights how much care we must take to support graduates and actors, and hope we can continue to improve and expand the award for more actors in 2021 and beyond.”
The Luke Westlake Scholarship, formerly known as the JAM Scholarship, is an award designed to provide an actor with artistic and financial support worth over £3,000 in their final year and as they graduate from university or drama school, and begin to navigate their way into the industry. The scholarship was established when the team behind JAM realised many actors were being priced out of their career once they left training.
The full list of prizes are: one-year Spotlight membership, one-year subscription to The Stage, two industry advice sessions with Spotlight’s Emma Dyson (Performer Careers Consultant), full headshot session plus edits with Samuel Black Photography, full showreel package with self-tape.co.uk, first year tax return with Tax for Actors, full voice reel, one-year full membership of Voiceover Kickstart’s training and community with Guy Michaels at voice-reel.com, £100 voucher at Nick Hern Books, industry advice meeting with an agent from Olivia Bell Management, industry advice meetings with: casting associate Faye Timby (The Witcher, Netflix) and casting assistants Naomi Downham (National Theatre) and Martin Poile (RSC), 6 JAM casting workshops, £500 towards accommodation rent (after graduating), one-year subscription to Spikizi Accent and Dialect App.