Sydney-based actor, writer and comedian Jane Watt is the inaugural winner of the Equity Comedy Scholarship, allowing her to undertake The Second City’s conservatory program.
The scholarship is an Equity Foundation initiative with support from The Second City, CBS Television Studios, ITV Studios Australia, Media Super and Showcast.
Watt, a WAAPA grad who has toured shows to the Sydney Comedy Festival, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the United Solo Festival in New York, was selected from more than 200 applicants across Australia and New Zealand.
The comedian also teaches and performs with Improv Theatre Sydney and Baker’s Eight musical improv toupe, and hosts the monthly show Bang Bang Rodeo for Red Line Productions at The Old Fitz Theatre. Last year, Watt co-created and directed Microlit Chocolate Wheel, which was set to play as part of the Sydney Writers Festival 2020.
While international travel restrictions mean Watt must currently study with The Second City online, when restrictions ease, she’ll head to the US to spend two months producing and staging a final showcase in Chicago, followed by a week in Los Angeles with CBS TV comedy and casting executives. She will receive $AU20,000 to assist with her travel expenses.
“Jane Watt is an extraordinarily talented and very funny young Australian,” the judges said.
“We have no doubt she’ll enjoy her time at The Second City and that audiences in Australia will reap the benefits when she returns home and expertly turns her hand to whatever she damn well pleases.”
Watt said: “There are too many superlatives to use right now so let me just say that I am VERY happy to be the inaugural recipient of this scholarship.
“As an independent artist I am fully aware of how rare these opportunities are, so thank you and I promise to put it to good use”.
The Second City artistic director Nancy Hayden said the judges were overwhelmed by the talent and originality of the Australian and New Zealand applicants, particularly Watt.
“Jane has a dynamic talent that draws you in from the first moment you watch her perform. Her innate sense for comedy is matched by her stellar acting skills and her characters are at once hilarious, vulnerable, and as authentic as Jane herself,” Hayes said
“I’ve no doubt she will do great things in this work, and I am so thrilled she’s going to join us at The Second City, to train and perform at our institution like so many strong female comedians who have gone before her, such as Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Gilda Radner, and Catherine O’Hara.”