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Scholar Georgie Cunningham poses for a photo in front of the Edge Hill crest while holding a programme at the awards evening.Drama student and self-proclaimed activist and feminist, Georgie Cunningham, has received a scholarship from Edge Hill University, which she will use to bring communities together through the power of performance.

The second-year student from Northampton has worked for theatre companies for a number of years and has, alongside fellow students, recently set up performance collective Tenderfoot Theatre. The company aims to explore what matters to the youth of the UK, with their debut work exploring the effects of climate change and the population crisis.

Reflecting on the moment she was told she’d receive a scholarship, she said:

“It was an amazing feeling, in crazy circumstances as I was walking from the dressing room to the stage at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to perform Shrew, so it was great to be able to celebrate what we do in that moment.”

The 22-year-old took a gap year between her A-Level and University studies to volunteer with a local theatre company as a youth director, teaching children from low-income backgrounds and providing a free opportunity to experience theatre at a time of cuts to arts funding in schools; something she is passionate about continuing post-University.

Tenderfoot Theatre Company is an eco-theatre company based in Ormskirk and due to make its debut this year, with all the set, props and costumes sourced from recycled materials. The company plans to lead a team of volunteers in clean-ups in the local area and everything collected will either be used in the show or recycled.

Georgie is also a member of tutor-led feminist collective Mrs Pankhurst’s Players, who received fantastic reviews for their radical adaptation Shrew at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year. She has previously represented the University at a UCAS event in Manchester with Mrs Pankhurst’s Players, and recently performed work adapted from Shrew with the collective at the Pratt Institute, New York. The collective is now working on a new show ‘Sugar, Daddy?’ which is due to be performed in March 2020.

She added:

“Through my involvement with Mrs Pankhurst’s Players, I plan to raise awareness of feminism on campus and further the University’s long-standing dedication to raising awareness of women’s suffrage. To be able to do this as part of a family of like-minded theatre-makers is a blessing.”

Georgie has toured professionally with Theatre in Black in the production of ‘Numbered Days’, a show that explores what love looks like in the modern era. The show was successful in putting women and the LGBTQ+ community at the forefront of the narrative and received promising reviews. Georgie is grateful to the ‘Numbered Days’ team and says that without them she would not be where she is now.