The BBC Soundstart Scheme 2012

Production coordinator

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Ed’s note: We’ve featured the radio drama Soundstart scheme on the blogs before. For those who don’t know the scheme production coordinator Matthew Mills explains what Soundstart is and introduces this year’s winners – PM

Soundstarters 2012

Facing an induction week crammed with live performance, master classes with industry specialists, talks and workshops, the six actors gathered in Bush House were no doubt a bundle of nerves and excitement.

Each about to embark on a five month bursary as members of the Radio Drama Company, the winners of the BBC's Soundstart scheme follow in illustrious footsteps. Once an exhausting induction week is over they will be let loose onto the "The Rep" to face all that BBC Radio Drama, Readings, Comedy and Factual have to throw at them.

The Soundstart scheme consists of the Carleton Hobbs Bursary Award, for students graduating from accredited drama schools, and the Norman Beaton Fellowship, which looks to find actors from non-traditional training backgrounds.

The Carleton Hobbs Bursary has fed into the Radio Drama Company since 1953 and launched the careers of many household names. Among them Ted Kelsey, Carol Boyd and Tim Bentinck (Joe Grundy, Linda Snell and David Archer of The Archers) as well as Richard Griffiths, Stephen Tompkinson, Julian Rhind-Tutt and C3PO - Anthony Daniels in non-robotic form.

The Norman Beaton Fellowship has done much to increase the diversity and reach of Radio Drama through its work with regional theatre companies, providing a vital and unique springboard for those already in the profession with a desire to break into the radio acting industry.

And so, to our Soundstarters: Eleanor Crooks, Stephanie Racine, Will Howard and Adam Nagaitis are 2012's Carleton Hobbs winners, and Sarah Thom and Paul Stonehouse are the recipients of this year’s Norman Beaton Fellowship.

There are guaranteed to be highs, lows and drama a plenty, and if history is anything to go by, a surprise or two in store.

Matthew Mills is production coordinator, BBC Radio Drama

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