Dundee Rep is delighted to announce that they will be hosting a new group of five graduates this year as part of their renowned Graduate Actor Scheme. Ross Baxter, Danielle Jam, Amy Kennedy, Chiara Sparkes and Leanne Traynor will join Dundee Rep’s award-winning Ensemble working throughout the year on this season’s productions, starting with The Yellow on the Broom this August. 

Dundee Rep’s Graduate Actor Scheme, supported by the Robertson Trust, is a yearlong placement giving drama school graduates a fantastic opportunity to work in a fast-paced professional environment as they look to nurture, facilitate and empower the next generation of emergent talent.

The recent graduates from The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts and Queen Margaret University, secured their places after a rigorous audition process to form the latest group of apprentices to earn a unique opportunity to kick start their career and spend time learning their craft at the theatre.

On welcoming the new graduates, Artistic Director Andrew Panton said:

"Dundee Rep’s Graduate Actor Scheme is a unique programme which helps graduates make the transition from drama school into the industry. We're able to work with and support the next generation of rising talent as they rehearse and develop alongside our resident acting Ensemble. I'm very pleased that we're able to work with a number of recent graduates this year and look forward to welcoming them into the Rep family."

Ross BaxterFrom today, Ross Baxter and Chiara Sparkes join the Ensemble to begin work on the Rep’s first production of the season, The Yellow on the Broom. Ross said:

“Having grown up admiring the work of Dundee Rep, I feel privileged to be making my professional debut with such a reputable Ensemble. The Graduate Scheme is an incredible step into the industry, and I’m extremely grateful for this opportunity.

Chiara SparkesFellow RCS graduate, Chiara Sparkes previously trained at The Dance School of Scotland and was the 2017 winner of Young Scottish Musical Theatre Performer of the Year. She developed an interest in the arts from a young age and always knew she wanted to be involved in Scottish Theatre.

Talking about this new opportunity, Chiara said:

"I’m thrilled to join Dundee Rep for the next 6 months. The work I see happening within the Ensemble excites and inspires me massively as a young Scottish actor, and I feel this opportunity will have a huge influence on the beginning of my career."

Amy KennedyAmy Kennedy also graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland this year and is thrilled to be joining Dundee Rep alongside her fellow graduates. She recently received the Julia Stewart Award, and the Citizens Theatre Society Award and previous theatre credits include Trainspotting (Citizens Theatre) The Pool of BethesdaThe Jungle Book, and Macbeth (Royal Conservatoire of Scotland).

Danielle JamThe fourth graduate joining the Ensemble is Danielle Jam, a recent graduate from Edinburgh Napier and Queen Margaret Universities. The Rep’s exciting new musical adaptation of The Snow Queen will be her professional theatrical debut.

Speaking about her excitement after being selected, Danielle said: 

“When I received the news about the Graduate Scheme I was over the moon. I learned so much at the season launch and recall that weekend and just knew this would be an amazing place for me to continue to grow after university. I can’t wait to work with all of the company members on this magical show.”

Leanne TraynorThe final graduate who will be joining Dundee Rep’s award-winning Ensemble is Dundee-born Leanne Traynor, a recent graduate from Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts. Leanne grew up in the city and spent a lot of time at Dundee Rep, which included performing in the Rep Ensemble’s production of She Town in 2012, inspiring her to want to pursue the idea of becoming an actor. She will be making a welcome return to Dundee joining the Ensemble for Arthur Miller’s American classic, All My Sons in February.

Similar to this year’s graduates, Emma Mullen was selected to take part of the Graduate Actor Scheme last year and was given the opportunity to work closely with the Dundee Rep Ensemble on the Scottish premiere of August: Osage County

Reflecting on her time at Dundee Rep, Emma said:

“It was a great place for me, as a graduate actor, to develop as an artist. I think one of the main reasons why I felt this way, was that work with such an experienced group of actors who take time to guide you and give you advice that you can only gain from years on the stage. I know that all the knowledge and learning that I did at Dundee will remain with me, and I will be able to take it into my future career as a performer.”

Dundee Rep are thrilled to welcome these talented new graduates to the theatre ahead of an exciting new season of ambitious work. The Graduate Scheme continues to be a unique and essential part of the work of Dundee Rep Theatre helping bridge the gap between training and professional practice, supporting the theatre makers of the future.