Graduates nominated for The Stage Debut Awards

A trio of Royal Conservatoire of Scotland graduates is tipped for top theatre awards that celebrate the brightest new talent on the UK stage.

Chase Brown, Brooklyn Melvin and Bethany Tennick have been nominated in The Stage Debut Awards 2020, which recognise breakthrough actors, writers, directors, designers, composers and lyricists. The winners will be announced in an online ceremony on September 27, from 7-9pm.

Brooklyn Melvin is nominated for Best Performer in a Play for Oliver Twist at Leeds Playhouse, a co-production with Ramps on the Moon, where every performance featured integrated creative sign language, audio description and captioning.

Brooklyn Melvin, RCS graduate, on stage as Oliver Twist

© Anthony Robling

Brooklyn – who played the title role – is part of the history-making first cohort of the pioneering BA Performance in British Sign Language and English programme at RCS, the UK’s first and only degree for D/deaf performers.

It was established in 2015 in association with Glasgow-based Solar Bear theatre company, with input from a range of theatre, education and D/deaf professionals.

Brooklyn, who graduated in 2018, said: “I’m overwhelmed to be nominated and it’s such an honour to be nominated alongside my Oliver Twist castmate Katie Erich.” Brooklyn’s performance credits at RCS include Last Woman Left, the Scottish tour of Love and Information and Scavengers.

Bethany Tennick is a writer, creative and performer who has worked in theatre, film, and live music since graduating from the BA Musical Theatre programme in 2017.  Bethany is nominated for Best Performer in a Musical for musical Islander at the Southwark Playhouse in London.

RCS Musical Theatre graduate Bethany Tennick performs during her studies in SideShow at West Brewery

© Robert McFadzean

Bethany said: “I’m absolutely delighted at the nomination, and even more so to be nominated alongside other RCS grads. Islander is a wonderful Scottish show and I’m thrilled for it to be seen alongside great musicals like Dear Evan Hansen and Les Mis.”

During her studies, Bethany performed in Spring Awakening, London Road and Sideshow.

Joining Bethany in the same category is Chase Brown, a 2018 BA Acting graduate. Chase is nominated for Mame at Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester.

RCS graduate Chase Brown on stage in Mame at Hope Mills Theatre

© Pamela Raith

Chase said: “It’s a huge (and surprising) honour to be nominated for the Stage Debut Awards. At the moment, theatre is in a bit of a tough spot, so I’m incredibly grateful to be a part of an event celebrating it. Also, to see RCS grads in the list of nominees just demonstrates what a powerful launchpad the Conservatoire is for new talent.”

Chase portrayed F. Scott Fitzgerald in Dear Scott, Dearest Zelda during his studies, a new play with music devised by RCS Principal, Professor Jeffrey Sharkey, and director Stasi Schaeffer, an MA Classical and Contemporary Text alumna.

The Stage editor Alistair Smith said: “At what is an exceptionally difficult time for new talent starting out in theatre, we’re delighted to be able to shine a spotlight on a selection of the great emerging performers and creatives who lit up our stages before theatres were closed in March.

“Despite a shortened judging period, the sheer quality and diversity of our shortlists demonstrate the continued brilliance of our industry’s extraordinary workforce. These will be the people who make sure that theatre not only survives the current crisis but returns even stronger after it.”


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