09 Nov 2021


The Empire Theatre has continued its commitment to supporting and nurturing the region’s young performers with the presentation of the 2021 Empire Theatres Youth Bursaries.

The program returns after being unable to run in 2020 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic restricting the availability of courses and travel restrictions causing difficulty to participants.

Some of the region’s most talented young artists were acknowledged in the awards ceremony today, with around $25,000 awarded to 30 students who come from areas including Toowoomba, Kingaroy, Nanango and Clifton.

The bursaries are presented with the aim of developing skills and giving new experiences to young artists who demonstrate talent, involvement, and achievement in a performing arts discipline.

This year’s recipients will attend short courses at Australian Ballet, National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA), Empire Youth Arts, Queensland Theatre, Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA), Queensland Conservatorium, and more.

With the exception of the 2020 round, the Youth Bursary program has offered courses each year in a wide range of disciplines including dance, acting, instrumental music, singing, music theatre, film and television

Since 2010, more than 450 Bursaries have been awarded.

Empire Theatres Foundation Chairperson, Janelle Fletcher said the importance of programs such as the Empire Youth Bursaries was greater than ever as the we navigate the fallout of the pandemic.

“Keeping everything our communities have experienced in mind, and as we look to the future, it’s so important to embrace and invest in the arts,” Ms Fletcher said.

“So often when we interview these young people, so many of them say they have found their place, whether that be in a play, performing in an orchestra, whatever it may be, they talk to us of being accepted and embraced in a way they don’t necessarily find in other areas of their lives.”

Ms Fletcher said this year’s recipients were a group of highly talented and ambitious young performers and creatives.

“This year, like other years, we were looking for someone who was engaged in the arts and was self-motivated; not necessarily someone looking to forge a career in their discipline but always someone who wants to give to the arts long term,” she said.

“For this year, some recipients experiencing financial hardship received additional assistance towards travel and accommodation.”

Ms Fletcher thanked the business partners and donors of the Empire theatres Foundation, whose ongoing support and generosity makes these bursaries possible.

The Empire Theatres Foundation is proudly sponsored by Bernoth Properties, DP Wealth Advisory, Downlands College, Greenridge Group, Horizon Accounting Group, Clifford Gouldson Lawyers, and Wearing Memories.