Young East Asian woman with dark brown hair falling past her shoulders and a green off the shoulder top.

Constellation Creatives Drama Student Bursary

We are so proud to introduce Esther Ming Li as our 2024 Constellation Creatives Bursary winner!

Now in its twelfth year, the Constellation Creatives Bursary aims to encourage and promote greater participation and representation of British East and South East Asian actors on stage and screen by supporting the pathway from graduating student to professional actor.

It provides: £1,000 towards additional expenses incurred in that transitional period; a FREE Standard Headshot Package provided by David Yiu; a casting workshop with Mixing Networks; as well as a FREE year’s subscription to Spotlight.

The bursary is awarded to a drama school student of East or South East Asian descent who, in the opinion of the judging panel, has best demonstrated at the audition/interview that they have the talent, skills and commitment to succeed as a professional actor.

This year, the judging panel included Chloe Blake (Casting Director, National Theatre), John Cannon (Head of Casting, BBC), Ailin Conant (Artistic Director of New Earth Theatre), Matthew Dewsbury (Casting Director, Royal Shakespeare Company) and Orion Lee (Actor and sponsor of the Bursary).

“What an absolute honour. God, I feel proud to be Asian right now. I am grateful that the Constellation Creatives Bursary exists because it means we have Asian peeps IN NUMBERS stampin’ our way into the industry each year. Thank you, New Earth, for championing and amplifying our voices. I am buzzing to see our community grow and dare to reach new depths."

Esther Ming Li, Bursary Winner

“It was such an honour to participate in my first Constellations Creatives Bursary panel as incoming AD and to get a small taste of the enormous legacy that Orion, New Earth, and the brilliant panellists have created with this programme over the past decade. This year’s applicants were an incredibly strong pool, and all of the finalists were a joy to meet and work with. They are all winners, in the sense that they are all brilliant artists who are poised to bring vital energy to our sector. Our bursary recipient Esther Ming Li wowed us this year with her lucidity, depth, and playfulness. Best of luck to her, and to all of our applicants and finalists this year."

Ailin Conant, Artistic Director, New Earth Theatre

“It was very gratifying to see the level of British ESEA talent graduating from UK drama schools. Thank you to New Earth Theatre for organising the Constellation Creatives Bursary and to the National Theatre for hosting. We're very lucky to have such an esteemed panel of judges and thanks to all of them for their time and to Tammie Rhee for being a generous actor reader."

Orion Lee, Actor and Sponsor of the Bursary,

The work Esther presented to the Constellations panel was of a noticeably high quality, she demonstrated an intuitive response to taking direction, and her instinctive qualities shone through the various characters she played. She is a worthy recipient of the award.

John Cannon, Casting Director, BBC

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