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Alan Bates Award 2017

Alan Bates Award 2017

5 May 2017


Multi Olivier Award winner and esteemed actor, Noma Dumezweni, awarded this year’s Alan Bates Award to Georgia Frost from Bristol Old Vic Theatre School at the central London ceremony at the Actors Centre on Thursday 4th May.

This year we auditioned more actors than ever before after investing heavily in our digital technology and a new collaboration with our partners Casting Networks International. Self-taping is an increasing necessity in the world of auditioning in our industry so we decided to reflect this in the first round of auditions. The results were astounding. We are extremely proud that this development has allowed students from a wider demographic greater access to this prestigious accolade.

By going digital we have now been able to support graduates even further, giving them access to the benefits this Award offers and educating them on the support available at the Actors Centre once they have graduated. We are the constant in an unpredictable industry.

On what the Award means to her, winner Georgia Frost said “I think it’s important to feel empowered when you go into the industry and feel like you have a support network around you. Receiving this Award makes me feel like I have a base, a mentor and friends. A set up to put me in the right state of mind. As a woman it’s hard for us, we are on our way to equality but we need to keep pushing, and having this network and having this support will be that thing that will lift me up and help me go far. I feel really lucky, I feel just so lucky.”

Actors Centre Chairman, Paul Clayton said “I think the great thing about this year’s Alan Bates Award is that it’s been more accessible than ever before. Thanks to our partners Casting Networks we have been able to open it up further and it doesn’t cost anybody anything to enter. A 90 second self-tape, which is the way forward in the profession these days, sent in and then six judges view them so it’s a much fairer decision. I think it’s the way forward, it’s the way the business is moving forward, it’s the way the Bates is moving forward.”

Final round judge, Sope Dirisu commented on the experience that, “It’s always a pleasure to be sat on the other side of the table for once to see other people bring their art. The level of talent today was exceptional and it made it very difficult to choose, but actually for me as an actor, I learn from them. We all know how tempestuous this industry is, my career could be over tomorrow, but hopefully we will be inspiration for each other to improve our work and become better by the community provided by this Award.”

Presenter of the Award, Noma Dumezweni said “I think it’s such a privilege to witness people starting out, with an amazing group of judges who are great at their work. My little thing about the Actors Centre is that I used to work here in the café years and years ago. Because I didn’t go to drama school I thought, where can I be the closet to actors, I’ll work here and I will try and go to classes. So wherever you can get the help, I totally understand it, especially when you’re starting out. I wish them all goodness and greatness.”

The Alan Bates Award is unique; it is the toughest competition of its kind. Unlike some other competitions/bursaries, graduating actors are not nominated, but enter themselves, making the Award accessible to the most diverse spectrum of students British Drama Schools have to offer. The winner is selected through a rigorous, four-stage audition and interview process.

This year we have even more to celebrate, as for the first time the Alan Bates Award is now a part of The Stage Debut Awards. The Stage’s enthusiasm and support for the Actors Centre and the Alan Bates Award has allowed for even further recognition across the industry.

The winner has been awarded a vast prize bundle: from headshots and a website, to a makeover from Ted Baker and a year’s theatre-going from See Tickets, along with the Actors Centre’s varied range of professional workshops and opportunities, subscriptions with the biggest industry organisations, and a library of books from the UK’s theatre-publishing powerhouses.

2017 is the third year where all six finalists, including Afolabi Alli, Adam Boardman, Tok Stephen, Angus Imrie, Ross O'Donnellan and Georgia Frost will benefit from the “You and Me” mentoring opportunity offered by the Actors Centre. The Actors Centre is a bridge between drama school and the profession, so this scheme pairs each finalist with experienced actors who have walked the road they are about to embark on.

With a meeting every month for the next year, this aspect of the Award is invaluable to a new actor starting out. This year’s mentors include; Nickolas Grace, Liz White, Mark Field, James Doherty, Polly Kemp and Chris New.

Over the past 13 years the Alan Bates Award has nurtured the best of young British talent, attracting high profile patrons and celebrity supporters. It was created in honour of one of Britain’s greatest actors and Patron of the Actors Centre from 1994 to 2004, Sir Alan Bates. Alan cared passionately about the craft of acting and about showcasing and supporting young British talent. The Award is designed to provide recent graduates with the tools and support to assist them in finding work and sustaining a career in an ever-challenging industry.

The Actors Centre is absolutely committed in its support for young and newly established actors as they carve a way for themselves in those daunting early years of an acting career. Britain trains the best actors in the world, and the Alan Bates Award and the Actors Centre are making sure that those actors have long and successful careers. A massive congratualtions to Georgia Frost!


Our six brilliant finalists - Ross O'Donnellan from Bristol Old Vic, Afolabi Alli from Bristol Old Vic, Georgia Frost from Bristol Old Vic, Tok Stephen from RADA, Adam Boardman from GSA and Angus Imrie from LAMDA. 

Alan Bates Award winner Georgia Frost with our two runners up Ross O'Donnellan and Adam Boardman.


Winner of the Alan Bates Award Georgia Frost with Noma Dumezweni.

All photos credited: Kit Shah - HCK Photography

Multi Olivier Award winner and esteemed actor, Noma Dumezweni, awarded this year’s Alan Bates Award to Georgia Frost from Bristol Old Vic Theatre School at the central London ceremony at the Actors Centre on Thursday 4th May.

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