Chris Hornby Bursary Scholar takes to the stage at ArtsEd


Chris Hornby’s legacy continues at ArtsEd with this year’s bursary awarded to Maria Conneely, a third-year student on the Musical Theatre course.

The Chris Hornby Bursary Fund was founded in memory of Chris in 2015. At the time of his death, Chris was the Resident Director for Disney’s The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre, having performed the same role for Cameron Mackintosh on his production of Oliver! at The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.  Over the years Chris had worked as a choreographer, dance captain, and actor.

Chris was loved and respected throughout the industry and especially well known for his love of nurturing young upcoming talent. As a former ArtsEd student and bursary recipient himself, Chris knew the vital role that bursaries play in a young person’s journey into the performing arts industry.

We are enormously grateful for the wonderful support from Tim English, Chris’s partner, and so many of Chris’s friends and family, all of whom have been instrumental in fundraising for the bursary.

2020 saw a special milestone reached when Jacob Thomas, the first Chris Hornby Bursary Scholar, completed his BA in Musical Theatre, having been supported by the Fund throughout his training.

Jacob Thomas said: “The support I have received not only financially but emotionally from Tim and the Chris Hornby bursary has been a crucial factor in my development and completing my degree. This has been a life changing opportunity that would not have been possible without the bursary. I am so excited to see where my career takes me, and to make Tim and Chris proud.”

This year’s recipient, Maria Conneely, is thrilled to be awarded the Chris Hornby Bursary.

Maria said: “I feel so honoured and privileged to have received the Chris Hornby Bursary this year. The financial support makes such a different to myself and my parents, for this we are so grateful. This aside, however, the emotional support I’ve received as a Chris Hornby Scholar is impossible to put a price on. I’m so grateful to have met Tim and to be welcomed into his family as a scholar, I can’t really imagine not knowing him now! This bursary is so precious to me and has already supported me in so many ways in my final year of training. For the rest of my career, I will do my best to make Tim, and all the supporters of the fund, extremely proud.”

You can see Maria performing two solo pieces onstage in the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation Theatre in her showreel and explore the class of 2021 here.

Tim English said: “I’m thrilled that the Chris Hornby Bursary is now providing help and mentoring to its second talented student at ArtsEd, Maria Conneely.  Chris was a great advocate for younger performers and seeing our scholars shine warms my heart and comforts me that his death has not been in vain.
To see our first scholar, Jacob Thomas, grow and progress through his training has been wonderful and to be able to provide that opportunity to someone whose talent my otherwise have gone unnoticed is exactly why this bursary was set up. One of my personal highlights was seeing Jacob in his first professional show, ‘Soapdish’, at the Turbine Theatre, starring Louise Dearman, a great friend of Chris’ and a wonderful supporter of the bursary.
I’m determined that the Chris Hornby Bursary should continue to provide funds and mentoring for as many students as we can. Everyone with a dream to perform deserves a little help.”

Since the fund’s launch, an incredible £30,000 has been raised to help students with exceptional talent who need financial support to fulfil their dreams.  Thank you to everyone who has supported the Fund, from all of us at ArtsEd.

If you would like to donate to the Chris Hornby Bursary Fund, you can do so here, be sure to select the fund in the drop down option.