The 2017 Rob Guest Endowment Awards were launched today, and applications for all awards are now open. The Rob Guest Endowment is Australia’s most exciting scholarship program in performing arts, providing financial assistance and industry support to the next generation of musical theatre stars, creators and musicians. The 2017 prize package is valued at over $50,000, including the $20,000 major prize – the Rob Guest Endowment Award.
The Rob Guest Endowment 2017 panel will seek out Australia’s brightest and most talented young rising stars through a multistage audition process. Six finalists will be shortlisted and will have the opportunity to showcase their talent in front of an audience of Australia’s leading and most established producers and casting agents at the final event. The winner will take home the highly coveted Rob Guest Endowment Award of $20,000.
Applicants will have a chance to compete for the Melbourne’s East End Theatre District Artist Development Award. The award is a $5,000 cash prize to assist one of the finalists with further training and development to become a leading artist in their field. The winner will be chosen by the 2017 judging panel.
This award is fully funded by the Melbourne’s East End Theatre District, an initiative of Mr Mike Walsh and the Marriner family to celebrate the six beautiful heritage theatres located in the cultural heart of the city, namely the Regent Theatre, Her Majesty’s Theatre, the Princess Theatre, the Comedy Theatre, the Forum and the Athenaeum Theatre.
Applicants also compete for The Playbill Future Prospect Award, a $1,500 cash prize, which will be bestowed upon a semi-finalist who didn’t make the finals but is of sufficient interest to the judges to encourage them to return next year.
Previous finalists and winners of the Rob Guest Endowment Award have since been launched into the industry, starring in lead roles in musical theatre around Australia. Past winners include Linden Furnell (Kinky Boots, Rent), Daniel Assetta (The Book of Mormon, Wicked), Joshua Robson (Dream Lover, Les Miserables), Samantha Dodemaide (The Wizard of Oz, Singing in the Rain), Glenn Hill (Matilda the Musical, Legally Blonde), Blake Bowden (The Book of Mormon, Fiddler on the Roof) and Francine Cain (Grease, Rock of Ages).
The Rob Guest Endowment Technical Award in Honour of Sue Nattrass and The Rob Guest Endowment Musician Award will again be presented in 2017. These awards, first introduced in 2014, are fully funded by the Capitol Theatre and Sydney Lyric and include a $10,000 cash prize intended to help the recipients become leaders in their field. These awards are open to all practitioners working or seeking to work backstage and in orchestra pits of musical theatre shows around the country. The winners will be announced during the 2017 final event.
Past winners have been glowing in their praise for the experience of entering the Rob Guest Endowment Awards. “To this day the honour of being included amongst a group of finalists for The Rob Guest Endowment, artists whose careers continue to inspire me and the unprecedented joy of winning in 2011, remains one of the greatest moments of my career,” said Blake Bowden, 2011 RGE Winner.
“The experience that winning afforded me, in not only being part of the process and the final concert for the Endowment, but having the opportunity to spend a significant amount of time studying in New York gave me skills and most importantly a confidence to take the next vital step in my career as an artist. I will always be proud to say that I was part of The Rob Guest Endowment.”
“Being a part of RGE and becoming the 2013 recipient created a world of opportunities which otherwise I wouldn’t have had,” added Samantha Dodemaide, 2013 RGE Winner. “Throughout the audition process, having the opportunity to be exposed to and mentored by some of Australia’s finest industry professionals was an invaluable prize in itself – winning the Endowment was a bonus.”
“I was able to travel to NYC for the very first time, I spent two incredible, challenging and rewarding months studying at the prestigious Atlantic Acting School and had incredible private singing coaching. After returning home from this trip, I not only had a range of new and developed skills, but was also incredibly inspired. The Endowment creates a platform for young artists to be showcased, for hard work and dedication to be rewarded and new talent to be discovered.”
Entries for all awards can be submitted via www.robguestendowment.com.au by 18 August 2017 for the Performers Awards, and by 20 October 2017 for the Technical and Musician Awards.
Image: Rob Guest Endowment 2016 Finalists and Judges – photo by Robert Catto