Drama school students from across the UK have been awarded thousands of pounds in bursaries by the Society of London Theatre (SOLT) to complete their studies.

Nineteen students from twenty schools faced interviews and auditions in front of a panel of industry professionals, to win a share of almost £73,000.

Lee Menzies, West End producer and Chair of the Olivier Bursaries Committee, said: “We look for a combination of talent and need.

“There are some very talented students but their need isn’t very great, and there are some students who aren’t very talented but their need is great.

“We try to split the difference.”

Various bursaries were awarded, including the Clothworkers’ Laurence Olivier Bursary, the Behrens Foundation Bursary, and the Mary Selway Bursary on June 25.

Funds awarded to each student ranged from £500 to £7500.

The Laurence Olivier Bursary was established by the SOLT in 1987 to mark the 80th birthday of Laurence Olivier, with the aim to provide exceptional students the means to complete their final year at a drama school.

One of the recipients of this year’s Laurence Olivier Bursaries, Lily Nichol, said: “The bursary has been a huge confidence boost.

“It has given me the push to know what I can achieve, but not in a way that’s set me free.

“It’s made me want to work even harder and learn more.

“The bursaries allow people from so many different backgrounds who don’t have the funds, but do have the talent, to get into the industry.

“It’s the best thing happening in the arts at the moment.”

Previous bursary winner Juma Sharkah has moved on to be an Olivier Award 2015 nominee for her performance in Liberian Girl.

The SOLT bursaries were awarded to nineteen students across the UK on June 25. More information about each of the bursaries can be found here.