2020 Rose Byrne Scholarship and Rebel Wilson Comedy Commission Winners

Australian Theatre for Young People (ATYP) and our international ambassadors Rose Byrne and Rebel Wilson are proud to announce the winners of the 2020 Rose Byrne Scholarship and the Rebel Wilson Comedy Commission.  Following a massive response when applications opened earlier in the year, our ambassadors had some tough decisions to make.

Rose Byrne had a difficult job narrowing down the list for the ‘Rose Byrne Scholarship for Emerging Female Leader in the Arts’.  There were many exceptional submissions, however, after careful consideration Rose has chosen actor and writer Chika Ikogwe as the 2020 recipient.

Chika is an award-winning Nigerian-Australian Actor, Writer and a recent Acting graduate of NIDA. She is delighted with the scholarship. “I’m thrilled to be the recipient of the Rose Byrne Emerging Female Leader in the Arts scholarship. I very much look forward to being part of the ATYP team, and cannot wait to work with them to diversify the landscape of the entertainment industry here in Australia.” 

Over the next 12 months Chika will work toward her scholarship goal. “I want to create workshops that give BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) the opportunity to come and learn acting, singing, dancing and performance making from some of the country’s finest teachers and arts practitioners. My aim is for this to be a heavily subsidised, if not free program because I believe accessibility should not only be reserved for those who are privileged enough to be able to afford it. I also want to create a theatre group, where free tickets and transportation are provided to young people, so they’re able to go and watch live performance at least once a month.”

In 2020, after reading a huge pile of applications and going through the tough short-listing process, ATYP ambassador Rebel Wilson has awarded the second ever Rebel Wilson Comedy Commission to comedy actor, writer and political satirist Victoria Zerbst.

Victoria was almost lost for words when she found out she was the winner of the 2020 commission. But then she found them again! “Can I tell you, wow, it hasn’t even hit me yet. Like, when I engage with this opportunity conceptually I am like woah, I can’t believe this exists…are you telling me that a genuine hero of mine is going to engage with my ideas and I’ll have creative support to make my dreams come true? I find it hard to believe. I’m overcome with full-blown gratitude and excitement for the future. Rebel’s dedication to ATYP and the next gen of Australian artists is beyond inspiring and being awarded a comedy commission is a serious honour I don’t take lightly. I guess put simply, it means the world to me and probably my parents.”

Victoria’s work for the next year has been years in the planning. “Over the next 12 months I’ll be developing an idea for a show that has been rattling around my little skull for the longest time and I am so excited I get to pay it some attention and take it to the library. I’m collecting and re-working the songs I wrote throughout my high school years and I’ll be turning them into a very camp comedy musical! I can’t wait to harness all the skills I’ve developed from the ATYP National Studio and Fresh Ink Program, and work with Rebel and the ATYP team to deliver a work that centres on the complex experiences of young people and also makes people laugh heaps!”

The two recipients will spend the next 12 months working with ATYP to realise their respective goals. Both artists will be in contact with the ambassadors throughout the year to update them on their progress. The 12-month scholarship will culminate with both recipients presenting a showcase to key members of the arts industry in Australia.

For more information on the scholarships and the recipients throughout the year please visit our website.