It was not exactly a red carpet event but it was a day of celebration when ABF Chairman Bruce Spence presented the Student Endowment Award cheque for $2,000 to Isabella Thompson in the midst of lunchtime Mardi Gras party at NIDA.
In previous years the endowment had been presented as part of the Sydney Theatre Awards, this year they were cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions. The ABF Committee felt strongly that it should still be presented due to the particular difficulties many NIDA students had experienced due to the pandemic.
This year’s recipient Isabella Thompson, has just begun her second year at NIDA studying Technical Theatre and Stage Management. She is also studying theatre administration and hopes to be working behind the scenes in Sydney theatres once she graduates. Bruce Spence wished her all the best with her future career on behalf of ABF.
The Student Endowment was designed to give financial support to a student facing hardship during the crucial second year of study and typically is linked to the Lifetime Achievement Award which ABF sponsors as part of the Sydney Theatre Awards (STA). Producer of the annual Awards event Ian Phipps, and Sydney’s busiest publicist, was on hand at NIDA to represent the event and to add encouragement for Isabella.
Liz Hughes CEO of NIDA and Lisa Hamilton Head O’D Development and Alumni, attended the presentation along with Anthony Whelan Development and Alumni Coordinator.
ABF has strong links with NIDA; many of the current Committee are NIDA graduates including Deputy Chair Glenn Hazeldine who also attended the presentation. In future ABF committee representatives will be meeting with the third year students to introduce them to the work of ABF and its integral role in providing support across the disciplines, for the members of the performing arts fraternity.
ABF also administrates an important support program with Sydney Theatre Awards. Four years ago at the annual event reviewer Diana Simmonds and Glenn Hazeldine launched the STA Fund to raise money to assist theatre professionals with the expense of mental illness treatment.
Donations to the STA Fund can be made on the ABF web site.