Image Credit: Aude Vanlatham
The funding for the York Performance Award has been guaranteed for the next five years due to an endowment from Barbara and Ronald Cooke.
The award gives one company of graduating students or more a grant of £1,000.
This grant money is to be used by the winning students to take their performances to venues across the country. At least one of the winning students must be from the Department of Theatre, Film, Television, Music, Television and Interactive Media or English.
The news that funding has been secured for the next five years is extraordinary, as this is usually reviewed on an annual basis.
Speaking about why the Cookes had decided to secure the funding for the next five years Ron Cooke said: “These awards give student groups, from any part of the University, a chance to test their talents at the Edinburgh Festival and elsewhere. It is a useful, high profile stepping stone towards their professional careers and future bookings.”
Ron Cooke, who served as Vice-Chancellor of the University from 1993 to 2002 was said to have been impressed by the work and initiatives that the previous award winners had gone on to achieve.
Last year’s winner of the award was Rocket Box. The company has gone on to complete its debut tour of the UK after performing in 2018, staging Alice Birch’s Many Moons at the Create. They “believe in fairness, and we are invested in untold, un-heard stories... we believe in sharing with our audience. Our theatre is not a lecture, it’s responsive; we don’t blame or attack. We find stories with a pulse and embrace the live.”
Reacting to the news, Ken Dixon, Professor of Drama at Television and Interactive Media said: “We are enormously grateful to Ron and Barbara Cooke for their foresight and generosity in endowing this wonderful scheme. The scheme allows students to start building a track record and contacts within the industry."