Known across the country for his Portrayal of Frank Underwood, the fictional Majority Party Whip on Netflix’s House of Cards, and more recently his one night only charity concert in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 29, Kevin Spacey is no stranger to the limelight.
Little less known, is Spacey’s work with students in the arts. Spacey has been helping students for years at Regents University in the U.K., providing financial aid to up and coming film makers and actors.
This year will be the first time the Kevin Spacey Scholarship will be offered in the United States, and exclusively at the University—accepting 15 students studying acting, commercial dance, musical theater, directing, production, design or stage management.
Ten students will also be able to travel abroad and participate and perform at Regents University alongside fellow scholarship recipients. The students accepted into the scholarship will not only receive funding for school expenses but will also have the privilege of taking what the scholarship dubs “Master Classes” with Spacey.
The ultimate aim of the scholarship is to aid, mentor, and train both performance and visual artists, better equipping the future stars in front of and behind the camera. The scholarship is funded by Spacey’s U.K.-based non-profit organization the Kevin Spacey foundation, which has exclusively been working with Regents University’s BFA acting and film programs.
The expansion into the United States through the University reflects the growing prestige of the Film and Screen studies, and the Actors Studio Drama School at the University. Joe Lange, a University junior said, “I’m very excited for the scholarship and can’t believe the luck of the University for being the first in the U.S. to be able to be applicable for it.”
Spacey will be hosting a charity concert of him singing with a live band in Washington, D.C. later this month, with all proceeds benefiting his foundation and in turn the scholarship on offer for University students.
Regardless of the concert, however, the foundation is offering $500,000 in scholarships and $200,000 in grants for students.
Applications have already begun for prospecting actors and filmmakers and 15 spots are open for the funding and mentoring from Spacey and his organization.
Spacey in an interview with USA Today stated, “We’re hoping to extend the scholarships in lots of universities and drama schools around the country.”
The scholarship began as a way of giving back for Spacey, who himself was also a recipient of similar scholarships when he began his collegiate career studying acting at Julliard. Spacey feels for students entering college unable to pay their tuition as he shared similar situations, “I was on a couple of scholarships. I had a job in the school administrative office. I had a job as a hat-check boy in a restaurant; I had another job as an assistant to a casting director.; It took a lot to get myself enough money to go to school; I know how difficult it can be.” And the scholarship is here to aid students who both show initiative, ability and need just as Spacey once did.
This article originally appeared in the September 17, 2014 edition of The Pace Press.