Heading for Shakespeare’s Globe… Guildhall student Luke Dale, winner of The Actors Centre Alan Bates Award 2015

This year’s Alan Bates Award has been won by Luke Dale, a student at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. The award was presented to Luke by EastEnders star Lindsey Coulson at the central London ceremony on Friday 24 April.

Lindsey Coulson said: “This award is the legacy of Alan Bates’ commitment to prepare young people to enter the profession. The quality of this year’s talent has been really outstanding and it’s so important to have organisations like the Actors Centre in place to nurture the growth of young talent.”

Eastenders star Lindsey Coulson (left) with Luke and Dame Janet Suzman (right).

Eastenders star Lindsey Coulson (left) with Luke and Dame Janet Suzman (right).

Along with the Actors Centre’s varied range of professional workshops and opportunities, Luke’s prize bundle includes headshots, a showreel and voicereel, a bespoke built website and Equity and Spotlight subscriptions. Leading fashion brand Ted Baker will style and dress him from “Ted to Toe”. Luke will also receive a supply of books from publishers Methuen Drama, Oberon Books and Nick Hern Books, and he will be appearing at Shakespeare’s Globe in the Read not Dead programme of staged readings.

The Actors Centre’s Chair Paul Clayton, who will be mentoring Luke Dale over the next year commended the judges’ decision: “He is the most engaging actor and when I saw him I thought ‘You stand out’ – and among six really first-class competitors. He did a fantastic Shakespeare speech, had a lot of energy… And he comes from Yorkshire, which can’t be all bad because so do I!”

Paul Clayton (left) with Luke.

Paul Clayton (left) with Luke.

The Alan Bates Award is the toughest and most unique competition of its kind. Graduating actors nominate themselves before the winner is selected through a rigorous, three-stage audition and interview process which includes a panel of actors and industry judges.

Award winner Luke said: “I feel very privileged, honoured and absolutely elated. I am so thankful to the Actors Centre, and the best thing about winning this year’s Alan Bates Award is I can keep coming back to work with the amazing actors and people.”

Alan Bates Award judge Dame Janet Suzman is one of the few living actors to feature in Great Shakespeare Actors, the new book from Shakespeare authority Professor Stanley Wells.

Last year’s winner Charles Babalola (left) with Luke.

Last year’s winner Charles Babalola (left) with Luke.

“I admire young actors today enormously,” she says. “It is rather humbling as they are all going into a world that is much more difficult than the world that I went into. Somehow it is more transient, more over-crowded, and you have to learn much more in less time.”

Go here to find out more about The Actors Centre and the Alan Bates Award 2015.