By Jess Jones
A theatre scholarship for Durham students, worth up to £16,000 over four years, has been funded by David Sproxton, the producer of animated favourites Wallace and Gromit, Shaun the Sheep, and Morph.
Mr Sproxton has decided to fund this new scholarship in order to support and encourage students to pursue their talents and interests beyond their academic careers.
The theatre scholarship aims to support the living costs of a prospective Durham University student who has a passion and aptitude for the technical aspects of theatre but who may lack the crucial funds to realise their creative vision.
It will become part of the Durham Inspired scholarship programme, which aims to widen access to opportunity and support students from lower household incomes in reaching their potential.
Mr Sproxton said: “It doesn’t take much to give someone an opportunity to help develop a skill that might otherwise lie dormant. I was of a generation of students which didn’t need to worry about funding their way through university, we were given grants.
“It’s all very different now, so supporting a student allows them to more easily pursue an interest outside their academic studies without financial worries. You never know where that interest might lead them, but it’s certainly worth giving them support and encouragement to start on what could be a very exciting journey.”
Importantly, the scholarship will provide the chance to be immersed within theatre production at Durham University and to get involved in the Durham Student Theatre (DST) community. It will also give recipients the opportunity to develop a varied range of skills, from sound, projection and stage management to set and costume design and video production.
Mr Sproxton, a Durham University alumnus, is the co-founder of Academy award-winning Aardman Animations, and was appointed a CBE in 2006. During his time at Durham, he was often at the Assembly Rooms Theatre, which regularly stages many DST productions and has recently been refurbished.
Student technician Anna Bodrenkova, part of the DST Executive Committee, said: “I’m so happy that the scholarship will make getting into tech accessible for more people, and will give successful applicants the freedom to focus on what really interests them within DST Tech. The community has always been eager to teach new members, so I think it’s important that the new scholarship will value enthusiasm over experience.”
The scholarship will sponsor up to £4,000 per year for the next four years. Applications are now open to prospective students who are intending on starting their degree at Durham in October 2021. The deadline for applications is Sunday 28 February. Click here for more details and to apply.
Image: David Sproxton