Ben was a recipient of the SLX Bursary whilst at drama school – he explains how it helped him and shares the link for students to apply this year
Drama school show budgets are surprisingly tight. There’s never enough money in the pot to hire the latest kit so students often end up using AV equipment that is at least five to ten years old; and at many points during my course, I was using fixtures that were the same age as me so this doesn’t help students to get the relevant and up to date experience they need before entering the industry.
In my second year of drama school, I saw that SLX was inviting students to apply for a £3,000 bursary to be used to hire equipment for their shows, so I applied. I was shortlisted and then invited to an interview at the London Palladium – what an amazing venue to be interviewed in! I was thrilled when I heard that I was going to be one of the five lucky students to be awarded the bursary that year.
Having free hire at my disposal meant that I could bolster my shows with a lot of extra equipment and try out different kit too. I actually used most of the hire on just one show; a design project, in a tiny studio but I ended up with more kit than my colleagues had for their show in the big campus theatre. It was a lot of fun and it gave me invaluable experience.
The team at SLX has always been very supportive since I first met them in Bristol. They even included me on the team to help deliver the New Year’s Eve fireworks in London. It was a five-day job for five minutes of wow; it was insane, but a lot of fun! All the way throughout my career, they have been really supportive and been absolutely brilliant.
My job has introduced me to a number of wonderful hire and production companies - but I will always have a soft spot for SLX. I’d love to see more companies get involved with drama schools and students – I can see that it would be a lot of work from a company to do it properly, but students need to have as much relevant experience as possible before entering the real world.
I really benefited from receiving the bursary, and SLX are running it again this year. I encourage all students to apply as it really made a difference to my drama school experience.
“We set up the bursary to help support and promote the next generation of talent because they are the future of our industry,” says Ruari Cormack, SLX’s business development manager. “When awarding the bursary, we look for someone who shows initiative, flair, imagination, talent and ambition.”
“We are very excited to be launching our new programme in May,” says Katy Lowe, SLX’s sales team manager. “It’s super important to us to champion new talent within the industry whenever we can. I am very much looking forward to meeting the new applicants.”
You can apply here: https://www.slx.co.uk/tlp/