About East 15

Prizes and awards

Prizes and Awards

A history of winners

As one of the UK’s leading Drama Schools, East 15 students are eligible for, and have previously won, a number of awards and competitive scholarships.

If you are looking for information about funding, please see our fees and funding pages.

External Awards

BAFTA Scholarship

First awarded in 2015, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Scholarship provides funding to aid aspiring actors studying at, and applying for, FDS accredited courses. In addition to financial support, the recipients also receive one-to-one mentoring on their acting by BAFTA members. 


The first recipient of the scholarship was BA Acting student Jason Harris who was awarded £6,000 to support his training at East 15.

Carleton Hobbs Award

This Bursary provides winning students a contract for six months work with the BBC Radio Drama Department. A long list of East 15 students have enjoyed recognition through this competition. 

Past winners have included BA Acting graduates Laura Christy (2019), Alexandra Constantinidi (2018), Patricia Allison (2017), Joseph Ayre (2016), Roslyn Hill (2014), Alex Rivers (2011) and Leah Brotherhead (2010). Runners-up and commended nominees have included Emily Meechan (2019 runner-up), Jezebel Simpson (2019), Phebe Alys (2018), Andrea Valls (2015) and Eleanor Dillon–Reams (2012).

EQUITY Student Bursary

Equity is the UK trade union for professional performers and creative practitioners, known and respected internationally for the work with, and on behalf of, members working across all areas of the entertainment industry. Each year, two students are selected to be awarded a Bursary worth £500.

One 2015 recipient was BA Acting and Contemporary Theatre student Scott Lyons.

The John Gielgud Bursary

This bursary is worth between £2,500 and £5,000 and has been won by the following students from East 15: Jahmila Heath (2020), Olivia Frances Forrest (2019, £2,500), Patricia Allison (2017, £4,500), Kathleen Hood (2015, £4,500), Jamie Riley (2014, £4,500), Daniel Johnson (2013, £4,000), Olivia Hirst (2012, £4,000), Daniela Pasquini (2011, £4,000), Candice Fraser (2010, £3,500), Stephanie Appleton (2009, £3,500), Daniel Jenkins (2008, £4,000) and Marsha Henry (2007, £3,500).

The Laurence Olivier Bursary

This is worth up to £7,500 for a student entering the third year of BA Acting and is presented by the Society of London Theatre. East 15 students have regularly won this outstanding prize. Olivia Frances Forrest was the 2019 recipient. Other winners have included; Paisley Jackson (2016) awarded £2,250, Rebecca Saffir (2015), Lottie Finklaire (2014) awarded £500, Nayatia Hinds and Nathalie Wain (2012) each awarded £2,000, Anna Tall (2010) awarded £1,500, Paul Thomas (2009) awarded £2,500 and in 2008 Frances McNamee won the top award of £7,500 while Thomas Nelson also won an award of £2,500.

Lilian Baylis Award

This is worth £2000 and has been consistently won by students from East 15, including Nina Bricard (2024), Jason Kuang Yao Lee (2023), Léah Bonaventura O'Cassicci (2022), Kira Hayes (2021), Jake McPherson (2020), Molly Rolfe (2019), Rory Howes (2018) and Jennifer Woodward (2017).

Lionel Bart Award

The Lionel Bart Award aims to help final year students who are suffering financial hardship. This award is applicable for postgraduate and undergraduate students wishing to pursue a career in the theatre. Previous winners include Crystelle L’Amie (2019, £750), Jacob Krefeld (2019, £750), Savannah McRory Grant (2019, £500).

BA Acting
BA Acting
MFA Acting (International)
MFA Acting (International)

Internal Awards

Elizabeth Mills Award

The Elizabeth Mills Award was established in 2016 and is worth £2,500. First awarded to BA Acting’s Patricia Allison, the 2020-21 winner is Shavaniece Simpson (BA Acting & Stage Combat). Previous winners include: Louise Barron (BA Acting & Contemporary Theatre, 2018) and Cara Baldwin (BA Acting & Contemporary Theatre, 2017).

Jacobs Ladder Bursary

The Jacobs Ladder Bursary is a sponsorship fund for Year 2 & 3 BA Acting students. Founded in 2016 by Chris and Angela Graham, the Bursary has supported a large number of students with individual awards ranging from £1,000 to £9,000. Year 2 & 3 BA Acting students are automatically eligible for this funding. In 2019, 20 students received financial support from this Bursary.

Space Launchpad Award

The Space Launchpad Award sees the Creative Team at The Space theatre pick a play from the BA (Hons) Acting & Contemporary Theatre ‘Debut Festival’ line-up for a week-long transfer run at their theatre.

The Space is a theatre on the Isle of Dogs and is managed by the St Paul’s Arts Trust. Its aim as an organisation is to increase access to the arts and provide support for new artists. Its patrons are actor Sir Ian McKellen and Operatic soprano Marie McLaughlin.⁣ ⁣

The 2020 winning production was 'The Dripping Mirror' by Molly Rolfe, but the team were so impressed with the strong writing, directing and performing skills demonstrated in all 'Debut' productions, that they decided to award a second transfer slot to 'Enter Mr. Citrus Man' by Mia Juhl.

Stella Wilkie Award

Set-up in collaboration with the King's Head Theatre, the Stella Wilkie Award is chosen by the Creative Team at the King's Head and sees a production from the BA (Hons) Acting & Contemporary Theatre 'Debut Festival' receive a transfer run at their venue in Islington.

The 2020 Winner was Macadie Amoroso for her production, 'Blue Beneath My Skin' which she wrote and starred in. Course alumna, Janet Etuk directed the performance. 

Tim Welling Award

The £500 Tim Welling Award commemorates a past student of the school and was first awarded in 2015, to BA Acting student Ellie Moon. The 2021 winner is Joey Lockhart. Previous winners include: Polly Baron (2020), Molly Craig (2019), Jake Reid (2018), Hadley Brown (2017), Katie Neil (2016) and Ellie Moon (2015).

Tom Bennett Comedy Award

Worth £500, the Tom Bennett Comedy Award is awarded to a BA Acting & Contemporary Theatre student. Julia Bentley and Poppy King have been awarded the 2020-21 prize. Previous winners include James Malone (2020) Florinela-Sidonia Doica (2019), Jaouhar Ben Ayed (2018) and Allie Munro (2017).

Prizes and Awards
Supporting career progression is an important part of the East 15 ethos. As one of the UK's leading Drama Schools, East 15 students are eligible for, and have previously won, a number of awards and competitive scholarships. 
Prizes and Awards

Postgraduate scholarships


There are a number of bursaries and scholarships available to postgraduate students. Please see the University of Essex website for more details.