Curtain Up for a Brighter Future: Empowering Tomorrow’s Theatre Stars

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New Earth Theatre has announced that it has awarded the 2024 Constellation Creatives Drama Student Bursary to Esther Ming Li from LAMDA. Now in its twelfth year, the bursary aims to encourage and promote greater participation and representation of British East and Southeast Asian (BESEA) actors on stage and screen. Li will receive £1000, a year’s subscription to Spotlight, a casting workshop with Mixing Networks, and a headshot session with David Yiu.

Esther Ming Li is in her final year at LAMDA, where she is currently rehearsing Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano De Bergerac (freely adapted by Martin Crimp) playing Roxane from 10 to 13 June https://www.lamda.ac.uk/whats-on/cyrano-de-bergerac before graduating with a BA (Hons) Professional Acting.

This year, the judging panel included Chloe Blake (Casting Director, National Theatre), John Cannon (Head of Casting, BBC), Ailin Conant (Artistic Director of New Earth Theatre), Matthew Dewsbury (Casting Director, Royal Shakespeare Company) and Orion Lee (Actor and sponsor of the Bursary). The Bursary is awarded by New Earth Theatre, provided by Orion Lee and sponsored by Spotlight, Mixing Networks and David Yiu.

Esther Ming Li comments, “What an absolute honour. God, I feel proud to be Asian right now. I am grateful that the Constellation Creatives Bursary exists because it means we have Asian peeps IN NUMBERS stampin’ our way into the industry each year. Thank you, New Earth, for championing and amplifying our voices. I am buzzing to see our community grow and dare to reach new depths.”

Artistic Director of New Earth Theatre, Ailin Conant today said, “It was such an honour to participate in my first Constellation Creatives Bursary panel as incoming Artistic Director and to get a small taste of the enormous legacy that Orion, New Earth, and the brilliant panellists have created with this programme over the past decade. This year’s applicants were an incredibly strong pool, and all of the finalists were a joy to meet and work with. They are all winners, in the sense that they are all brilliant artists who are poised to bring vital energy to our sector. Our bursary recipient Esther Ming Li wowed us this year with her lucidity, depth, and playfulness. Best of luck to her, and to all of our applicants and finalists this year.

Actor and Sponsor of the Bursary, Orion Lee added, “It was very gratifying to see the level of British ESEA talent graduating from UK drama schools. Thank you to New Earth Theatre for organising the Constellation Creatives Bursary and to the National Theatre for hosting. We’re very lucky to have such an esteemed panel of judges and thanks to all of them for their time and to Tammie Rhee for being a generous actor reader.”

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