Named after one of Radio’s most distinguished actors, the Carleton Hobbs initiative has been run by BBC Radio Drama every year since 1953, proudly reaching its 50th anniversary in 2003. Radio Drama’s two radio acting awards (see Norman Beaton Fellowship) are brought together under (((soundstart))), Radio Drama’s umbrella title for all its acting initiatives. (((soundstart))) was formally launched at the National Theatre in July 2003, where, among starry company, we were delighted to welcome seven new actors to our Radio world - five Carleton Hobbs Bursary Award winners and two holders of the Norman Beaton Fellowship.
Radio Drama is particularly proud of its reputation for finding and encouraging those starting out on their professional actor lives. In its time, the competition has launched the careers of 120 outstanding graduating students. The Carleton Hobbs Bursary is aimed at students graduating from regular (or post-graduate) courses run by accredited drama schools across the country. Via the scheme, we look for distinctive, versatile radio voices to form the next season’s Radio Drama Company. We believe that the Carleton Hobbs event offers a unique opportunity to new acting talent, and hope that it will continue to be important to schools and students alike.
The Carleton Hobbs Bursary Award complements the work which the BBC invests across the board in new writing and directing talent. With a wider share of information across Drama Units in Radio and on Television, the focus on being part of a bi-media environment is strong.
Winning a Bursary is not so much about the chance of gaining a job and a regular pay-cheque, but the opportunity of extending the students’ training in a unique acting environment - one where they’ll work with the best actors and writers in the country on a wide range of contemporary and classic plays.