Adam Fenton wins Evening Standard Future Theatre Fund Award

Adam Fenton, who graduated from ALRA North in 2019, has won one of the Evening Standard Future Theatre Fund awards! Emily Aboud, who was one of the directors on an ALRA production of [Blank], was also one of the winners.

The Evening Standard said,

In association with TikTok and in partnership with the National Youth Theatre, The Evening Standard Future Theatre Fund was created. Its aim? To distribute 12 bursaries worth £10,000 each to struggling young creatives.

The judges — including Andrew Lloyd Webber, Helen McCrory, TikTok’s Richard Waterworth, the National Youth Theatre’s Paul Roseby and other eminent names from around the theatre world — were blown away by the creativity, zest and tenacity shown by the applicants.”

Here’s the video of the moment Adam found out the good news, and you can read an article about the award recipients here.

We spoke to Adam about his submission, what he’s currently working on and his ALRA training.

How did you decide and prepare your submission?

I decided to choose the materials that best communicated who I am, where I want my art to go, and what work I wanted to be part of and create. The most important prep I could do was to be as honest as possible and create a submission that got across what I’m all about.

What areas of your ALRA training might have helped you prepare for this?

There are obvious things like technical skills that helped me in my performances, but I think the most important thing from my training that I brought to the application was my understanding of my performance style. In my third year I devoted a lot of energy to creating and developing an acting style that incorporated my Tourette’s, and I’ve used this technique in all my work since and thought it would be great to showcase it in this competition.

Who inspires you?

I find myself being most inspired by the people around me. Those artists who are continuing to create, keep their passion alive, and work for change in the industry. I’m lucky to have some wonderful people supporting me who give me the confidence to continue on this journey of discovery. I’m also constantly reminded of the work done by other disabled artists before me who have created a landscape in which I am able to flourish, which inspires me to carry on their amazing work.

You chair the ALRA Disability Working Group; a support structure for students and graduates who identify as disabled, neurodiverse, having a mental health condition or any access needs. You’ve also been active in demanding change and recognition in the wider industry. Do you think this award represents a positive change in terms of representation?

I think it’s a great step in the right direction. Disabled representation (much like many forms of representation in the media) has been seriously lacking for years and often the representation we do get is shallow and unauthentic. The panel said that they really connected to how genuine and authentic my application was, and that’s what happens when you give space and opportunity to diverse people with unique lived experience. This recognition of new disabled creatives will hopefully give the industry the wake up call they need to respect, programme, and realise the talent and power of disabled artists of every different intersectionality.

You’ve said that you will use this award to further your work and we look forward to seeing what you make. Do you have any specific project in the pipeline? What’s next for you?

I’m working on a few projects that will be being developed and hopefully come out at some point this year! My plans are to continue my work as a writer and performer, but I’d also love some separate acting roles in which I could explore my twitchy acting style and be a source of representation for others.

Do you have any specific advice for people who might be considering or already enrolled in drama school training?

A few things. Don’t worry about it not happening right away. You most likely won’t be a ‘complete’ actor when you finish your training, and you shouldn’t expect to be. Drama school gives you the framework of acting technique but it’s up to you to find your own way of doing things. You might not even fully know your artistic identity by the time you leave but that’s totally fine; you’ve got time to let your training settle and figure all of that out. The work is always going on and you’ve got to invest in yourself if you want to progress and move your practice forward. Don’t shy away from your difference – it’s what makes you unique that connects you to others.

Academy of Live and Recorded Arts