New fellowship for aspiring actor in Derbyshire

Brian%20WeaverA new fellowship to help an aspiring actor has been launched by Derby Theatre in memory of Buxton man Brian Weaver thanks to a generous donation by his widow Doreen.

The Brian Weaver Fellowship will provide the opportunity for an actor, between the ages of 18 and 29 years old, to initially appear in two professional productions at Derby Theatre during 2014 – the first of which will be an epic production of Homer’s The Odyssey in the spring.

Doreen wanted to donate to a worthwhile theatre-related cause in memory of her late husband, who was born in Clowne as the only son of a miner and who missed out on a career as an actor in his early life because of financial restraints.

She said: “I am certain that Brian would want to join me in being able to offer another talented Derbyshire actor the opportunity to become involved in the magical world of theatre. We have therefore set up this fellowship.”

Brian’s his love of acting began following a school production of Macbeth, in which he played the title role.

He went on pursue a career in the theatre and was offered several acting jobs but in the early days the low wages meant he had to turn them down. Once a role was then offered to another actor who went on to become internationally famous.

Later in life, Brian did perform in, and direct, many plays, in both an amateur and professional capacity. He was a talented actor with a powerful and rich voice, a wicked sense of humour and a passionate love of Shakespeare.

When Brian died Doreen felt like she wanted to create a legacy for his passion for theatre and decided to approach Derby Theatre to discuss how this could be recognised in his home county and so the Brian Weaver Fellowship was born.

The successful recipient of the fellowship will also benefit from the links Derby Theatre and its staff has with the wider theatre industry and being mentored by artistic director, Sarah Brigham and head of learning, Caroline Barth.

Applicants need to have either been born in Derbyshire or be currently living in Derbyshire, be aged between 18 to 29 years old and should aspire to a professional acting career, and so have some acting experience, which could be through amateur groups, school, youth theatre or some professional theatre, but not with an established career.

The fellowship is intended to help support someone who may not have had the chance, due to financial, social, or cultural barriers to have taken up a career in acting or be likely to in the future.

The applicant therefore needs to write 500 words explaining why they feel they need the scholarship and how they will benefit from it.

The applicant also needs to be available from January 20 to March 1 2014 for The Odyssey and available for another production in the autumn 2014 season.

If you are interested in applying for The Brian Weaver Fellowship please send your CV, outlining any acting experience along with any other experience that you feel demonstrates your commitment to theatre and details your educational history and any work experience, and covering letter of 500 words to Andrew McIntyre at: a.mcintyre@derby.ac.uk by the deadline of 12 noon on Friday December 27.

If you have any specific questions regarding the fellowship then please contact Caroline Barth, head of learning at Derby Theatre at: c.barth@derby.ac.uk or on 01332 593944 before Friday December 20.