Theatre News

Winners of the Alan Bates Award announced

The winners of the acting prize were announced in a ceremony in London yesterday

Juliet Stevenson and Shauna McLean
Juliet Stevenson and Shauna McLean
© Kit Shah

Juliet Stevenson has awarded acting graduate Shauna McLean this year's Alan Bates Award.

In a ceremony in London, Stevenson announced McLean as the winner after she and five other finalists had been through a three-stage audition and interview process.

Included in the winning prize were headshots, a showreel and a voicereel, a website and a styling from Ted Baker. McLean, along with the five other finalists, will receive mentoring from actors including Thomas Coombes, Paul Clayton, Paul Chahidi, Kazia Pelka and Elliot Barnes Worrell.

On winning the award, McLean said: "I want to say thank you so much, to the judges at the Actors Centre. When I first went to drama school I never thought anyone like me would be able to go somewhere like that."

She added: "It means everything to have opportunities like this. This award allows me to have guidance and a mentor and to financially be able to carry on as a proactive actor which wouldn’t have been possible."

The Alan Bates Award was created in honour of Alan Bates – the actor who starred in films such as The Go Between and Zorba the Greek – and each year recognises a selection of promising new acting graduates, giving them help into their chosen career.

The six finalists this year were Oliver Church, Ruby Campbell, Robyn Holdaway, George Naylor, Maanuv Thiara and winner Shauna McLean. Each of them will meet with their mentor once a month for a year.

As she presented the award, Stevenson shared her thoughts on starting out in the industry with the finalists: "There's so much in this industry that makes you think you're on your own, or it's you against the industry… of course you're in competition with each other, a lot in this industry will enforce that.

"But I beseech you to do one thing, once you start work – on a TV set or a film set or a drama studio – then remember, you're in a collaborative situation.

"I remember that moment when I left RADA. I felt I was about to start my training. I felt that my two years was preparation to begin, it wasn't really an ending, it was a beginning."

Judges included the agent Deborah Willey from Independent Talent, head of casting at the BBC Julia Crampsie and the actor Alex Jennings.

Jennings said: "I was thrilled to be asked to be on the panel of judges this year, I knew Alan and was a huge admirer of him as an actor. I think it’s a fantastically important opportunity for young emerging talent."