Ds Scholarship

Young Thanet actress who pursued dream despite loss and hardship wins Luke Westlake Scholarship – The Isle Of Thanet News

Bridget Westlake – Luke’s mother – and scholarship winner Melody Karsiewski Photo by Lydia Krisavoli

A woman from Thanet who pursued her dream of an acting career even while coping with her mother’s death and diagnosis of an epileptic seizure was awarded a scholarship.

Chatham and Clarendon former student Melody Karsiewski, with her twin Lucy, seized every opportunity when growing up in Thanet to get into the acting industry.

From drama classes to attending the Kent Film Foundation Club, Melody subsequently worked three jobs so she could audition for acting roles.

The 22-year-old said, “My twins Lucy and I take a drama lesson every week at Masque Theater School, which my mother paid for despite her low income. They have supported us over the years, even giving us free music theater lessons.”

“We cling to any opportunity to act and be creative. The weekly Kent Film Foundation club run by Jan Dunn taught us about films and made the industry look more accessible.

“I didn’t know anyone in the industry and was eager to learn. Kent Film guided me and I bought my twins writing software and a laptop to create our scripts.

“When my mother passed away I was in my last year of school, taking my older sister Lucy and me. I had to take three jobs in order to pursue my goal of becoming an actor.

Photo by Lydia Crisavoli

“The money was spent on going to London to audition for acting roles through MANDY, and saving up to move to London. Fortunately, I joined Open Door which is a working-class charity and diverse cast. They pay for school drama auditions, tutoring and workshops.

“Open Door allowed me to audition for top drama schools and my dream came true when I entered the Royal Institution of Scotland. However, I was diagnosed with seizure disorder around the same time and I was worried about walking away from my support network without knowing more about my condition causing my I would have epileptic fits at any time.Therefore, I could not accept the place.

“My twins and I were rescued, moved to London and applied to drama schools again the following year. After more grueling exams, Lucy entered LAMDA and secured a place at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. I was incredibly grateful to enter such The school is wonderful.

“The staff at Royal Welsh are incredibly supportive and I’m so glad I waited to understand myself and my condition before jumping into such intense training.”

An epileptic seizure is a type of seizure. They can resemble epileptic fits or fainting fits, but are not caused by abnormal electrical discharges or blood pressure.

Melody is now a sophomore at Royal Welsh College and has applied for the Luke Westlake Scholarship, which supports a working-class student during the last year of school and the first year to enter the industry as a performer.

The scholarship is awarded by Just Add Milk Theater (JAM) and is in memory of actor Luke Westlake who trained with JAM co-directors Kristian Wall and Kyle Rowe at ArtsEd and began a good career with a string of TV credits including Luther and Dark Heart. Sadly, Luke passed away in June 2020. A hardworking, fierce, working-class actor who represents what the scholarship stands for and JAM says they are very grateful to his parents, Bridgette and Lee, for giving them their blessing to continue running the scholarship in his honor.

In memory of Luke Westlake

As part of her application, Melody explained what the Luke Westlake scholarship meant to her, saying, “It would give me a network of support that I wouldn’t really get otherwise — or other people would. I don’t have support from the family network, I don’t have any parents, so I’ve been completely independent since the age of 18 years old

Melody admired the commission and was awarded the scholarship during a ceremony at the Turbine Theater at Battersea Power Station.

The scholarship provides technical and financial support of approximately £4,000 including Spotlight membership, subscription to The Stage, headshots and showreel, stage combat training, tax return accounting, £500 rent and a series of meetings with agents and managers.

Team Jam (Kyle Rowe, Liam McLaughlin, Christian Wall)

Scholarships founders Christian Wall William McLaughlin said: “Melody is a very worthy scholarship winner this year, from the strongest shortlist to date. We have fully invested in her exceptional talent, unique story, and now, on her journey – we can’t wait to watch her grow and continue The Successful Steps of Previous Winners, Madison Stock and Ayo Adegun.

“Covid-19 continues to make our industry less accessible to working class representatives, which is why this scholarship is so important. We will continue to support working class representatives with our scholarships and workshops and can’t wait to return in 2022.”

Jan Dun

Director and screenwriter Jan Dunn on behalf of the Kent Film Foundation team said: “Melody was one of the young members of the Kent Film Foundation’s Film Girls Club, where the professional arts practitioners we hire were able to harness her talent by mentoring her on being selected for the BFI Youth Film Academy in I was hosted by Screen South in Folkestone and it is very prestigious.

“The great thing about Melody is that she takes every opportunity that comes her. If a talented young man can motivate himself and understand that he is being supported to build his own aspirations and better chances for his future, then that makes supporting a young man who grows up with all kinds of flaws like Mel, that much easier to do .

“It has been a privilege to use my contacts to help her achieve her goals. I am very proud to have had the opportunity to do this for someone as talented as Mel and wish her every success.”

Photo by Lydia Crisavoli

Melody said, “Not only will the Luke Westlake scholarship help me financially, it will also launch my career. My original plan was to hide my disability because I felt it would prevent me from getting acting roles, but now I realize there are professionals here to support me, root me, and nothing It prevents me from achieving my goals.”


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