Bursary opens doors for budding entertainers

Performing arts in Mackay owe much to the late Jack Sturgeon.

Not only was he co-founder of the Mackay Musical Comedy Players and a life-long supporter of the arts, his legacy, the Jack Sturgeon Bursary, has given a step-up to countless aspiring performers.

The $1000 bursary is granted to an applicant in Year 12 who demonstrates the same enthusiasm for the performing arts as Jack did.

Last year’s recipient Joshua Collins said the bursary opened a lot of doors for him and helped set him on his current career path.

“Having some money in my pocket allowed me the flexibility to accept unpaid opportunities that came my way,” Joshua said.

“For example, I was able to do some work on the Brisbane Festival and some backstage work for the Brisbane Eisteddfod,” he said.

Having previously acted in several local shows, including The Mackay Musical Comedy Player’s production of Wicked, Joshua went to Brisbane to study a Creative Industries degree.

Through his work experience opportunities, he has developed a deep enthusiasm for the planning and organisation side of show business.

“I am really gravitating towards a possible career in festivals and events coordinating now – I love the pitching of ideas and the planning, and the flow-on benefits that the whole community enjoys from a successful event,” he said.

“In fact, due to the connections I have been able to make, I have been elected the 2019 Evolution/Fusion Coordinator for the QUT student theatre company Vena Cava.”

Josh also said he was able to use bursary money to pay for a professional headshot to help market himself.

Cr Justin Englert said the bursary was one of the ways the MECC fostered young talent in our community.

“Mackay has so many talented and enthusiastic young performers and musicians,” Cr Englert said.

“However, taking the plunge to pursue a career and study performing arts or music is a big step and a $1000 grant can go a long way to making that transition easier,” he said.

“The money can be put towards expenses, such as travel costs, tuition fees, text books or new equipment.”

To be eligible for the bursary, the student must be accepted into tertiary studies in performing arts or music.

Applications are open now and close on Friday, February 15.

Written applications can be sent to: Jack Sturgeon Bursary Application, Mackay Regional Council, PO Box 41, Mackay, QLD, 4740.

For further information or assistance with applications, call Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre's manager Andrew Bobeldyk on 4961 9777.