Tuesday, 17 January 2017
2016 marked the 25th anniversary of the tragic passing of D’Arcy Slater, who at just 13 years old, drowned in the flooded Helena River while returning to school following football training.
An only child, D’Arcy was a strong academic and sporting student, representing Guildford Grammar School in maths and chess competitions, football, tennis and swimming.
His parents, Bill and Christina Slater, set up the D’Arcy Slater Foundation in memory of their son to offer a wide range of scholarships to encourage youth to pursue their aspirations in education, sport and the arts.
Since 2009, the Foundation has generously supported WAAPA through its annual student scholarships and funding for visiting artists.
The student scholarships include the D’Arcy Slater Performing Arts Scholarship, worth $5,000, which provides financial assistance to deserving students who have been accepted into WAAPA’s acting program, and two Production and Design Travelling Scholarships, valued at $2,000 each.
James Thomasson, the recipient of this year’s D’Arcy Slater Performing Arts Scholarship, says he is grateful for the tremendous impact the scholarship has already had on his university life.
Since its inception, many aspiring actors have benefitted from this scholarship and have gone on to enjoy success in their chosen profession. These include 2010 graduate Paul Dowson, who appeared in the ABC’s conspiracy thriller, The Code and the Seven Network’s 2015 miniseries Peter Allen: Not the Boy Next Door; and 2013 graduate Grace Smibert who, now known as Grace Victoria, has appeared in the short film Talk to Someone.
The recipients of this year’s Production and Design Travelling Scholarships were 3rd Year Costume student Larisha-Jane Taylor and 3rd Year Stage Management student Jacinta Way.
Larisha is waiting for confirmation on a ten-week internship starting in March next year with top-end fashion labels Marchesa and Zac Posen Atelier in New York. Jactina has secured a six-week stage management secondment next year with Dragone Entertainment Group’s The House of Dancing Waterin Macau, China.
“I strongly believe that undertaking an internship with such celebrated design labels will open many doors for me in my career, as I would eventually like to rise to the role of costume designer in feature film,” says Larisha.
“I feel so incredibly privileged to have been awarded this scholarship as it has helped provide me with the opportunity to travel abroad to undertake my dream secondment. It is going to make such a difference to me and I would like to express my gratitude to the D’Arcy Slater Foundation for making this amazing experience possible.”
Jacinta agrees, saying: “The funds from this scholarship will help me to reach my dream and goals of internationally being part of the performing arts, taking every experience I can from the show and Macau and transforming these into smart tools in preparation for my future in theatre.”
Students in WAAPA’s performing arts courses also benefit from the D’Arcy Slater Foundation’s generous funding of the Visiting Artist program, which brings nationally acclaimed directors to the Academy.
Guest directors facilitated by the D’Arcy Slater Foundation include, among others: Jason Langley, who this year won a Green Room Award win for Best Direction in Vic Theatre Company’s Loving Repeating; Matt Edgerton, now Artistic Director of leading children’s theatre company, Barking Gecko; and this year’s visiting artist, Glenn Hayden, who directed the 2nd Year Acting students in Howard Barker’s play Victory. Hayden is a WAAPA graduate with nearly 30 years’ experience as an actor and director across many forms of theatre, with a particular focus on working with young people and cultural, economic and geographical diversity.
WAAPA at ECU is immensely grateful to Bill and Christina Slater for their ongoing support of WAAPA through the D’Arcy Slater Foundation.
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