Johnathan Georgiou, an aspiring actor from Liverpool, has been named the latest recipient of ITV’s Tony Warren Drama Student Award.
Johnathan, whose family live in Anfield, found a love for acting back in Year 7 when he was cast as the lead role in Peter Pan. He has since gone on to feature on stage in shows including Flesh at The National and The Laramie Project, at Hope Street Theatre, while studying at specialist Liverpool performing arts school, Rare Studio.
Launched in 2018 in the name of Coronation Street’s creator, Tony Warren, the ITV bursary chooses one exceptionally talented student from the North West region and offers them significant financial support throughout their drama training.
Shortly before his death in 2016, Warren expressed his wish for Coronation Street and ITV to establish a unique bursary that would support local actors and exceptional talent from disadvantaged backgrounds into training at drama school. Similarly to Liverpool’s Rare Studio, the ITV bursary looks to provide opportunities for those who may otherwise not have the chance to fulfil their dream of a career in the arts.
Earlier in his academic career, Johnathan was a rugby and football star, gaining interest from various local teams offering him the opportunity to play professionally. However, after recognising drama was where his passions lay, Johnathan dropped out of his A Levels and landed a place at Liverpool’s specialist performing arts school, Rare Studio.
Talking about his journey into acting, Johnathan said, “Growing up as a guy in Liverpool, there were a lot of negative connotations around being a performer, so while I knew I always loved acting, I kept it as a hobby and on the back burner.
“I carried on doing a few shows during school, and then got my debut performance at The Everyman Theatre which was surreal, and it was then I realised that this is what I wanted to do – it gave me a feeling I hadn’t felt before.
“I went onto sixth form as I feel that’s the direction you’re encouraged to go after school, but four and a half hours of drama a week just wasn’t enough for me, so halfway through the first year I visited the Head of the School and told them I was leaving. That was before I’d secured a place at Rare, before I’d spoken to my family, but I just knew that’s what I wanted to do.”
In September, the 21-year-old has begun a BA (Hons) in Professional Acting after securing a place at the exclusive Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama (RWCMD) and is already proving his talent and skills to the teams there.
The bursary has provided him the freedom to focus all his efforts into his dream of acting, something he never thought would be possible.
On receiving the bursary, the former Rare Studio student said, “I’d just got my place at Royal Welsh and the hard work started – trying to look for a job that would support me when I moved but I could also balance around my schedule. I’ve always worked, and I’ve always had to.
“This bursary means I don’t have the pressure of juggling a job that would help me afford to live and pursue my career, with the training I need that will make that success possible. For a lot of people at drama school, the need to go out and get money to survive has overweighed the course they’re doing. This has completely removed all that for me and gives me the best chance to put everything into making this my future.”
ITV Casting Director, Gennie Radcliffe, who was part of the audition process for the bursary said, “Jonathan’s Liverpudlian twinkle shone out the minute he walked into his audition. He has such a captivating naturalness and intimacy to his acting, making you feel as though you are the only one in the room and the only one he is talking to, he genuinely has you on the edge of your seat.
“The idea that he has three years of world-class training ahead of him at RWCMD to develop these skills even further is incredibly thrilling. Tony was so passionate about wanting to help young actors in financial need and would have absolutely loved Jonathan. We’re very proud to be carrying on his legacy through such exciting talent.”
Director of Rare Studio, Lindsay Inglesby, said, “Receiving this bursary is a phenomenal achievement, particularly for a local lad from Liverpool, and a fantastic way for Johnathan to begin the next chapter of his training at Royal Welsh College.
“Having known Johnathan since he first joined us at Rare in 2018, we have had the privilege to watch him grow. We’re not surprised that he has won the award, as everyone in the Rare community who has ever had the experience of watching Johnathan knows that his destiny lies in acting.
“Everyone at Rare wishes him every success for the future, and on a personal level, we are so hugely proud of what he has achieved so far.”
To find out more about the courses at Rare Studio, visit: http://rarestudioliverpool.co.uk/
Image: Johnathan Georgiou