Rupert Savage, who left Haileybury in 2005, has been awarded the Lawrence Olivier Bursary Award by the Society of London Theatre. He was put forward for the award by Drama Centre London, where he is currently studying. Previous recipients include Ewan McGregor and Michael Sheen.
The Conference of Drama Schools, which represents all the leading institutions, invites each of its 20 members to nominate one male and one female student. Drama Centre London chose Rupert, who then had to prepare two pieces, one modern and one classical, to present to a board of West End producers. Rupert chose one of the King’s speeches from Henry V, and another piece from All About Jerusalem.
The venue was the Piccadilly Theatre, so this was the first time Rupert stepped out onto a West End stage.
"It was an amazing feeling," he recalls. "The adrenalin was really flowing, but I felt that I took ownership of the space and delivered the pieces to the best of my ability."
The panel thought so too, as a few days later he had a call from the West End producer Lee Menzies with the news that he had won.
This is bound to give his career a massive boost. "It is encouraging to win against people from RADA and similar drama schools," says Rupert. "And whilst it is great that Ewan McGregor and Michael Sheen were previous winners, no doubt there are also a few who were never heard of again! For now though, the main benefit for my career is that it will make my CV stand out from the crowd."
Rupert is now in his third year and will be performing for agents, casting directors and the public. He has just spent the summer applying and developing his training whilst acting in Heathcote Williams’ harrowing play, The Local Stigmatic at the Edinburgh Fringe, but his first London appearance will be at the Cochrane Theatre in October, where he has the leading role as the King in Torben Betts’ The Lunatic Queen.