Published: 17 June 2016

Theatre student wins Stephen Sondheim Society award

A final-year undergraduate at the University’s Guildford School of Acting (GSA) has claimed the £1,000 first prize in The Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year competition, held at the Novello Theatre.

BA Musical Theatre student Courtney Bowman was one of 80 original entrants to this annual competition and faced strong competition from twelve finalists who performed to a jury, headed up by musical theatre critic Edward Seckerson.

Courtney’s Sondheim song of choice was Me and My Town, reprising her role of the corrupt Mayoress Cora Hoover from GSA’s production of Anyone Can Whistle last year.

The evening was compered by West End and Broadway stage, TV and film actor/singer Julian Ovenden and Courtney was handed the first prize by Society Patron and actress Julia McKenzie.

Courtney is the third GSA student to win this prestigious competition, following in the footsteps of Kris Olsen (2011) and Turlough Convery (2012). Describing her win, she said: “It feels unreal - I am absolutely thrilled and bursting with pride.

"I am so happy to be flying the GSA flag and to be the first GSA girl to win the award! Everyone taking part was ridiculously talented and so supportive of each other. I want to thank everyone who helped me, The Stephen Sondheim Society for giving me the opportunity and of course Sondheim himself for phenomenal songs for actors to sink their teeth into.”

The Stephen Sondheim Society is registered charity set up to study, appreciate, and celebrate the works of composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim.

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