inaugural recipient of the Tony Warren Drama Student Bursary as Florence Dobson from Ulverston, Cumbria.
Florence began her training on the BA (Hons) in Acting at RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art) this September and is already fast becoming ‘one to watch’.
A supporter of the initiative, actor/director and long-time friend of Tony Warren, Noreen Kershaw, said: “Watching Florence audition was one of those moments when you just know you’ve got the right person. Her natural acting skills are absolutely exceptional and her ability to move us from laughter to tears with her delivery in the audition room was outstanding – and this is before her 3 years of RADA training!
“On a more poignant note, I absolutely know Tony would adore Florence and be so excited to see her progress over the coming years. I genuinely believe there could not be a better first recipient for his bursary”.
Ex Coronation Street Producer, Carolyn Reynolds, who was instrumental in developing the bursary said: “Tony experienced the hardships facing young, talented students from the north who were desperately seeking training and recognition in London. It’s wonderful to see his dream realised, I’m grateful for Noreen’s unfailing support and to everyone at ITV who helped make this happen.”
On receiving the bursary, Florence said: “I am honoured and so grateful to receive the Tony Warren Bursary. Being the youngest of four, raised single-handedly by our mum, this award has relieved the financial worries I had when planning my move to London to start at RADA, and has enabled me to focus fully on my training.
It is so reassuring that the lack of funding for disadvantaged young actors in the north west is being addressed, and the Tony Warren Bursary is a wonderful example of the many ways this can be achieved.
As I am the first recipient of this award, I feel very passionate about sharing its cause and I urge anyone wishing to audition for drama school, but who believes it is financially impossible, to seek such support – and to understand that it is out there, and that it is absolutely possible.”
Lucy Skilbeck, Director of Actor Training at RADA, said “Florence has excelled in her first term at RADA. She brings warmth, openness, vitality and generosity to her work and is an outstanding company member.
Her energy and positivity make her a joy to work with and have yielded evident results in the short time she has been training. It will be exciting to watch her journey through the course – she has a bright future, and we’re delighted that she has been awarded the first bursary in this new scheme to support her through the next three years.”
The ITV Tony Warren Bursary will choose a student from the NW each year and support them throughout their drama training.


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