In September, following the fierce outcry that met the announcement of an all-white line-up of 30 semi-finalists for the Rob Guest Endowment annual musical theatre scholarship, the Artists of Colour Initiative launched a scholarshipcompetition of its own to provide financial assistance and industry support to theatre performers based in Australia that identify as Bla(c)k, Indigenous or as People of Colour (POC).
The 30 semi-finalists, selected from over 60 applications, have now been announced. They are: Aadhya Wijegoonawardena, Abu Kebe, Aiden Wang, Akansha Hugenahally, Angelina Thomson, Ava Madon, Daniella Delfin, Deirdre Khoo, Dindi Huckle-Moran, Ellie Chan, Gabriella Barbagallo, Giorgia Kennedy, Grace Driscoll, Guillaume Gentil, Jade Delmiguez, Jarrod Draper, Jerome Javier, Joshua Sanerive, Juan Gomez, Kara Sims, Karis Oka, Kristie Nguy, Lauren Cheok, Martha Berhane, Milo Hartill-Batsietswe, Naarah Barnes, Nicole Rammesh, Raphael Wong, Shannon Cheong and Yashith Fernando.
The OAC Initiative semi-finalists. Photograph supplied
They represent 21 different cultural backgrounds including Sri Lankan, West African (Sierra Leone, Nigeria), East African (Eritrea, Mauritius), Chinese, Japanese, Hawaiian, Colombian, Caribbean (Trinidad and Tobago), Polynesian, Aboriginal, Indian, Singaporean, Malaysian, Filipino, Parsis, Vietnamese, Fijian, Samoan and Botswana.