BBC Radio Drama – Carleton Hobbs Bursary Award 2021

We want to wish ALRA’s 2021 candidates for the Carleton Hobbs Bursary Award at the BBC, Flora Douglas and Nadia Jackson, the very best as they prepare their entries for the competition.

Here’s what they had to say about this opportunity:


“I’m currently working on two speeches for the Carleton Hobbs. It feels very different this year as we’re having to record from home rather than in ALRA’s studio, but the tutors have been so supportive with this. If anything, it’s been an even more valuable learning curve in how to create a makeshift home studio (cue me sticking duvets to the walls and squeezing into a wardrobe!). I’m learning so much more about the world of audio work and I feel so excited to be representing my school throughout this process.”


“It is such a huge honour to be chosen to represent ALRA North for the Carleton Hobbs Bursary. To work so closely with Simon Mattacks and Emma Gregory has been a wonderful experience – their feedback and knowledge of the industry is utterly priceless. I have very much enjoyed being paired with Nadia Jackson from the ALRA South; she is incredibly talented and I only wish we could have worked together in person. I cannot deny that the process has been challenging but extremely rewarding, and I feel I have learnt so much already. Possibly the hardest part of this year’s competition has been finding a suitable recording space (there are only so many cupboards I can fit into) and trying to stop my dogs from barking in the middle of a take!”

Abby Andrews, ALRA’s former winner of the prize in 2017, went on to record various roles in BBC radio dramas as part of her prize (a 5 month contract with the company). She said:

“Representing ALRA at the Carleton Hobbs 2017 Bursary Award Competition was already incredible in itself. I told myself “go in there and leave the best version of you as possible, then leave it behind”. I was really nervous but spent an hour on my own at ALRA in the morning doing a big physical/vocal warm-up and relaxation to get myself in the best headspace I could. It was time to just trust that the work I’d done in preparation was enough and I was equal to whatever came my way in the unseen elements. I took quite a lot of risks during the competition but decided to be bold and show as much versatility as I could.

When I got the call from the BBC on the Thursday early evening, I had snuck away to Dublin for a long weekend and topped my phone up just in case the odds were in my favour. Ten minutes before they called me I got a call from a random number and it turned out to be bloomin’ PPI so my heart sank and part of me let it go a bit. Then the call came and I couldn’t control my emotions. I remember just sinking to the pavement and crying. This was a life changing moment.

I was so fortunate in the next 6 months to work with the most talented, kind and welcoming producers, directors, SMs, fellow rep members and visiting actors (or Outside Artists as they call them). My most “pinch-me” moment was being one-on-one in a scene with Bill Nighy and he asked me where I found my “brilliant” accent. I told him I was guilty as charged and it was from Made In Chelsea. We had a right giggle and he made me feel so at ease and equal to him, allowing us to go on to record a relaxed, truthful and funny scene.

Audio work has from then on been my bread and butter; I’ve been so lucky to get to voice characters for the new Watchdogs: Legion video game (which I worked on for almost 2.5 years) and have now been cast in a new video game. I’ve just recorded my first commercial voice over and feel so at home in a studio now. ALRA set me up brilliantly for this amazing field of work, teaching me the tools of how to be versatile and professional, and head out there with a solid vocal training and techniques that I use for my warm ups on every job.”

You can find all of the details on the BBC website here.

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Academy of Live and Recorded Arts