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Bermuda student set to follow in steps of Hollywood stars at acclaimed drama school

One of Bermuda's rising stars is hot on the heels of big-name actors such as Robin Williams, Val Kilmer and Kevin Spacey.

Rowan Vickers will become the first Bermudian to hone his drama skills at The Julliard School in New York, which proudly boasts a whole host of thespians as its former students.

The 17-year-old is among just 18 students selected to attend the prestigious school after a gruelling four-stage audition process. The Warwick Academy student faced tough competition from a total of 5,000 applicants across the world.

Rowan has already made a name for himself locally by starring in many of the Island's productions, and now he is ready to take his talent overseas.

The Warwick Academy student said: “It's just such a big name as it's such a prestigious drama school.

“It's a huge honour to represent Bermuda at Julliard. It's like, wow, it's all a bit overwhelming.

“I'm so happy, it's just unbelievable. I get to do what I love at one of the best places in the world.”

Rowan received the all-important phone call saying he had been accepted into the drama school while he was at home doing his school coursework.

He said: “I really wasn't expecting the call. I just didn't know what to say. I think I just said ‘thanks, I can't wait'.

“I never thought I'd get in, I applied for the experience, it was like ‘let's see how far I get'. Then I kept going from one stage to the next, I'm still in shock really.”

Rowan got the acting bug when he was about nine years old through his love of theatre and film.

He has starred in countless plays with Warwick Academy, Bermuda Musical and Dramatic Society and Gilbert & Sullivan Society. From tonight he will be on the City Hall stage as ‘Squealer' in G&S's production of ‘Animal Farm'.

Rowan said he applied to “anyone and everyone” in both the US and the UK as he knew getting into a drama school would be hard. Having flown back and forth to various interviews, he admits: “Things have been a bit mad.”

Rowan was also offered places at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, and Central School of Speech and Drama, both in London.

He applied to Julliard at the end of last year. The audition process started in January and continued until two weeks ago.

Rowan initially had to perform classical and contemporary monologues to a panel of academics, and then he was then asked to return to perform the same monologues to the entire drama department. He also had to have an interview and submit an essay about a performance he had recently seen.

The final stage of the interview process was to attend two days of classes at the school, where his social skills as well as acting skills were put to the test. This was when the remaining 40 young hopefuls were whittled down to the final 18 students; nine males and nine females.

Rowan said: “The pressure was off as I had already been offered places in London, so that was probably the mindset I was in.

“It wasn't ‘Oh my God, I have to do well'. I just got on with it and had fun.”

Rowan, who is in the final few months of his IB programme, will start his four-year bachelor of fine arts at Julliard in September.

The professional acting programme combines practical and theory modules and even includes relaxation classes in Thai chi and yoga. Rowan will be expected to star in seven shows a year and in his fourth year he will also get to showcase his skills in Los Angeles.

Julliard welcomes students from all over the world and famous alumni include Robin Williams, Kevin Kline, Val Kilmer, Christopher Reeve, Kelly McGillis and Kevin Spacey.

Rowan said: “I'm ready for the new experience and to take the next step.

“Drama and acting is where I see myself going. Bermuda can be rather limiting, but I'm hoping this will open doors to a limitless world.

“I don't know what the future holds, that's what is so exciting.”

Rowan Vickers who is the first drama student to be offered a place at Juilliard School in New York.

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Published March 23, 2011 at 10:00 am (Updated March 23, 2011 at 10:05 am)

Bermuda student set to follow in steps of Hollywood stars at acclaimed drama school

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