The Artists of Colour Initiative (AOC) has launched a scholarship competition designed to provide financial assistance and industry support to six exceptionally talented theatre performers based in Australia that identify as Bla(c)k, Indigenous or as People of Colour (POC).
The initiative was born from the recognition of underrepresentation of these communities in the Australian theatre Industry. The aim of the scholarship is to ensure greater participation within the field of musical theatre amongst these marginalised communities.
Submissions for the scholarship will occur in three rounds with the first submission deadline on Monday 28 September. From there, a top 30 will be announced followed by a top six then ultimately, one winner. To assist in curating the semi-finalists and finalists, a panel of longstanding performers, choreographers, directors, musical directors, writers and activists of the theatre industry who identify as Bla(c)k, Indigenous or as People of Colour will lead the charge.
The 2020 panelists for the AOC Initiative are Barry Conrad, Bree Langridge, Callum Francis, Cessalee Smith-Stovall, Chenoa Deemal, Daniel J Puckey, Dean Drieberg, Fiona Choi, Kurt Kansley, Laura Tipoki, Leah Howard, Miss Cairo, Olivia Vasquez, Ruva Ngwenya, Sello Molefi, Sophia Laryea, Steph Tisdell, Tarik Frimpong, Thando Sikwila, Tim Omaji, Tyrel Dulvarie, Vidya Makan, Will Centurion, Yasmin Kassim and Yvette Lee.
To qualify for the AOC Initiative, applicants must identify as Bla(c)k, Indigenous or as People of Colour; be pursuing a career in musical theatre; be aged between 17 and 30 at the time of submission; be an Australian citizen or resident; not have previously secured a leading or supporting role in a mainstage musical theatre production, and not be engaged in or scheduled for performance-related work in a leading or supporting role at the time of submission.
Donations are being raised via GoFundMe with 100% of the prize money being awarded to the six finalists. So far, the AOC has raised over $10,000 with the winner receiving 50% of the donations; the runner up receiving 20% of the donations and the final four receiving 7.5% of the donations each. All donations support a step forward in the dialogue of inclusivity and social awareness.
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