The Palace Theatre has awarded its first ‘Our Past Your Future’ grant this month with help from sponsors Tallents Solicitors. The fund was set up for the Theatre’s centenary in 2020 to honour its 100 year history, to give back to the community which has supported it through thick and thin and to ensure its legacy of championing the arts in Newark continues to live on into the future.
Following a round of applications and interviews by a panel made up of representatives from the Theatre, Newark and Sherwood District Council and Alistair Millar from Principal Sponsors Tallents Solicitors, Ella Lighten was selected as the first recipient of a £1,500 grant.
Ella plans to study creative writing at Sheffield Hallam and said: “It is such an honour to be receiving the Our Past Your Future grant as I believe it will not only help me so much with the cost of my degree in Creative Writing, but it will also inspire me to work harder for the people pushing for my success. It makes to so proud to have grown up in Newark, a town that supports the arts exponentially, because I wouldn’t be the creative person I am today without its opportunities. I hope that one day I can give back to the town of Newark and inspire others to reach for their dreams in the arts the way I am. Thank you, Our Past Your Future!”
An important condition for successful applicants was to give back to the town and the Palace team will be keeping in contact with Ella throughout her journey to enable her to do just that.
Based on the overwhelming wealth of talent on show in the interviews, the panel also decided to award a second discretionary grant of £250 to Lilie Hill. Lilie is a dancer currently in training and has also developed social media channels designed to encourage self-care tailored to people working in the performing arts. She said: “This funding means that I will be able to afford to continue training over summer in London, which will really help me to improve ready to start back in September. It means I can do some professional classes I wouldn’t usually be able to afford to do.”
Carys Coulton-Jones, Business Manager for the Palace Theatre, said: “The quality of applications that we received for our first year of Our Past Your Future made the panel’s job exceptionally difficult. We met candidates from across a range of disciplines and they all made it clear how passionately they believe in the importance of arts and culture for young people. However, the way Ella was able to explain how she weaves her love of storytelling into so many aspects of her life really inspired us all and meant that it was a unanimous decision that she should be our first grant recipient. We also felt compelled to make a payment to Lilie, whose enthusiasm for dance is coupled with her care and compassion for other people in the performing arts. We can’t wait to see where their careers take them!”
Alistair Millar, Partner at Tallents Solicitors, added: “It was wonderful to see the breadth of talent in the district, from dancing to writing. I am delighted that Tallents Solicitors is able to offer support to these young people in progressing their aspirations.”
Councillor Rhona Holloway, Portfolio Holder for Economic Development and Visitors at Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “It’s fantastic the Fund is able to be mutually beneficial for the awarded applicant, the district and the theatre, allowing the Palace’s legacy to survive, young local talent to thrive and inspiring future generations to keep the arts alive in Newark and Sherwood.”