The Irene Ryan Acting Scholarships provide recognition, honor, and financial assistance to outstanding student performers wishing to pursue further education. The Irene Ryan Foundation awards sixteen regional and two national scholarships annually. One nominee and partner from every region will be invited to the national festival and the nominee will receive a $500 scholarship. The runner-up in each region will receive a $500 scholarship, but will not attend the national festival to audition for the national scholarship. Students and coaches are encouraged to consult their regional chair or regional Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Auditions Coordinator for information on other regional awards. The Irene Ryan Acting Scholarships are, indeed, scholarships; so the Foundation disburses the award through a school designated by the winner, to pay tuition and fees for further education, not necessarily limited to theatre arts.
Additional awards are made to Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Audition participants and their acting partners each year at the national level. Past awards include a fellowship to attend the Society of American Fight Directors’ National Stage Combat Workshop, a full season in the acting company of The Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington DC, the Williamstown Theatre Festival Fellowship for outstanding minority candidates, the National Partners of the American Theatre Classical Acting Award, the Mark Twain Scholarship for Comic Performance, fellowships to attend the Margolis Method Summer Intensive, the Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre and Mad River Festival, and an offer to become a member of the acting company of the Sundance Theatre Lab. In addition, the recipient of the Kingsley Colton Award for Outstanding Partner receives a cash prize of $500. The list of awards and student opportunities associated with the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Auditions at the national festival continues to expand each year and the auditions are now undoubtedly one of the most exciting educational and artistic opportunities for student actors in the country.