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About the award

The Ian McKellen Award is a great opportunity for young people who are passionate about the creative arts. It provides financial support and recognition for their talent, and helps them to achieve their dreams.

When Sir Ian McKellen came to perform at the Arts Centre in February 2019 for his 80th birthday tour, all the money raised from ticket sales and donations during his visit was kept safe to be used for supporting our work with young people.

In honour of such an inspirational man, and to put this money to good use, we established the Ian McKellen Award for young people.

Every year, we will award £500 to an individual who shows artistic potential and a deep passion for what they do. The money will help with their studies so the recipient must also have secured a place in a course of study for the upcoming academic year.

Who can apply?

This award is open to anyone between 16 and 25 who is passionate about the creative arts and wants to continue their vocational training. Whether you’re interested in theatre, dance, visual arts, or anything else, we want to help you reach your full potential.

How to apply

Simply send us a short video or written statement about why you’re passionate about the creative arts and what you hope to achieve with your studies.

Current applications are now closed, but we’ll let you know when they reopen.

For all enquiries, contact

Past winners


Tom Mathias, Solo Violin Performer Diploma at Indiana University, Jacobs School of Music.


Osian Pearson, MA in Editing at the National Film and Television School


Cerys Havana Hickman, multi-instrumentalist specialising in the triple harp and piano, Music (BMus) at Goldsmiths, University of London


For the inaugural year, the award was shared between Owain Gruffydd, BA Hons Degree in Acting at University of Northampton and Laura Baker, BA Hons Degree in Ballet Education at the Royal Academy of Dance.