Blackpool teen actor wins Royal Shakespeare Company scholarship

13 year old Bailey Fieldsend from South Shore was awarded the RSC Next Generation scholarship after being scouted at a Blackpool Grand workshop

By Lucinda Herbert
Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 3:38 pm

When Bailey Fieldsend first visited a theatre at four years old, he told his mum; ‘one day I’m going to be on stage.'

Now 13, he starts his career with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Bailey was scouted at a Blackpool Grand workshop, and beat thousands for the drama scholarship. He travels on Thursday 20th January 2022 to Stratford Upon Avon - the home of Shakespeare, for a costume fitting and to meet the cast.

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Bailey Fieldsend won a scholarship to Royal Shakespeare Company after being spotted at The Blackpool Grand

He will take part in regular workshops and virtual rehearsals leading up to his first show; Henry XI Rebellion which runs between 01st April and 28th May 2022.

Bailey has previously performed in Oliver, The Sound Of Music and The Addams Family, all at The Grand.

But he’d never tried Shakespeare, until his teacher nominated him for the workshop.

Mrs Rachel Vanstone, a drama teacher at South Shore Academy said: “Bailey is very versatile. I knew he’d enjoy the workshop, and it’s a good experience, but it’s very rare for anyone to get that far.”

Bailey said he found Shakespeare “strange but fascinating.”

Mrs Vanstone was thrilled to learn her Year 9 pupil had been awarded the RSC Next Generation scholarship. Each year, the program takes 26 young actors who show ‘extraordinary talent’, but live in deprived towns.

“He’s such a talented performer, but they were so impressed by his generosity. They were impressed with how he was helping the younger performers. He’s just a really kind performer, and always willing to have a go at stuff.”

It is part of a long term project to widen interest in Shakespeare. Bailey’s class at South Shore Academy takes part in the RSC’s Associate Schools Project - 20 schools across Blackpool and Wyre each perform a six minute scene from Much Ado About Nothing in a show at Blackpool Grand.

Mrs Vanstone said: “Shakespeare can be a barrier for a lot of young people. The language is old fashioned, and a lot of kids are very scared of it, but Bailey really sees how it’s relevant to our lives today. Acting the plays is so different to reading - it lifts the words off the page.”

She said that Bailey’s success has boosted interest in Shakespeare in the school.

“They were so excited to hear the news. Even though it's Shakespeare, it’s the fact that he’s been asked to join a professional company.

We’re auditioning for the six minute scene, and kids who would normally just be dancing or singing are thinking about giving it a go. It’s just the weight of being part of a professional company.”

Bailey is also performing as the Dame in Beauty and the Beast at The Blackpool Grand.