With over 60 performers applying for the 2020 Artists of Colour Initiative the Top 30 semi-finalists have been chosen. They are:
Aadhya Wijegoonawardena, Abu Kebe, Aiden Wang, Akansha Hugenahally, Angelina Thomson, Ava Madon, Daniella Delfin, Deirdre Khoo, Dindi Huckle-Moran, Ellie Chan, Gabriella Barbagallo, Giorgia Kennedy, Grace Driscoll, Guillaume Gentil, Jade Delmiguez, Jarrod Draper, Jerome Javier, Joshua Sanerive, Juan Gomez, Kara Sims, Karis Oka, Kristie Nguy, Lauren Cheok, Martha Berhane, Milo Hartill-Batsietswe, Naarah Barnes, Nicole Rammesh, Raphael Wong, Shannon Cheong and Yashith Fernando.
The semi-finalists represent 21 different cultural backgrounds including Sri Lankan, West African (Sierra Leone, Nigeria), East African (Eritrea, Mauritius), Chinese, Japanese, Hawaiian, Colombian, Caribbean (Trinidad and Tobago), Polynesian, Aboriginal, Indian, Singaporean, Malaysian, Filipino, Parsis, Vietnamese, Fijian, Samoan and Botswana.
In the first round of the competition, each applicant was asked to submit one video of themselves singing or rapping any song from a musical; one video of themselves dancing or moving to any song from a musical; an introductory video and a response to how they would spend $5,000 to further their training and career aspirations.
For the next round of the AOC Initiative competition, the semi-finalists must submit one video of themselves singing or rapping any song from a musical that contrasts their first round submission, one video of themselves performing a monologue of their choice and a 700-word mission statement outlining their ideal future study plans as well as long term goals and initiatives. Submissions for this upcoming round will close on Monday 2 November and from there a Top 6 will be announced then ultimately, one winner.
The AOC Initiative is 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. 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.