I can tell you, as a budding actor, having Jack Lemmon put his hand on my shoulder and say, 'That was terrific, kid; you oughta do this professionally' was a big deal for me.
Over the course of my career, I've been fortunate enough to have success as a stage and screen actor, running the film production company, Triggerstreet, and as Artistic Director of one of the world's best-loved theatres - London's Old Vic.
When I first started out, I was lucky enough to meet Jack Lemmon who encouraged me to become an actor. He subsequently became a great mentor in my life. Jack had a phrase that he used all the time that I've now adopted as my own. He believed that if you've been successful in your chosen path, if you’ve been able to realize your ambition, then you are obligated to 'send the elevator back down'.
That's why I've set up The Kevin Spacey Foundation (KSF).
We train, through the KSF Scholarships, and develop creative projects via KSF Grants so that emerging artists with passion and potential can succeed in the competitive worlds of performing arts and film.
I'd love you to help me keep the elevator moving, and in good working order, so that we can bring along as many passengers as possible.
Kevin Spacey was born in South Orange, New Jersey and spent most of his youth in Southern California.
As a teenager Kevin attended a drama workshop led by his idol, Jack Lemmon. On seeing Kevin perform, Jack put his hand on his shoulder and said:
‘That was a touch of terrific, kid. This guy is an actor. You need to go to New York and study to become an actor’ which is exactly what Kevin did. He attended The Juilliard School in 1979.
Kevin made his first Broadway stage appearance as Oswald in Ibsen’s Ghosts in 1981. His break through theatre performance was in Eugene O’Neill’s Long Days Journey Into Night opposite his now mentor, Jack Lemmon.
Whilst always harbouring a love for the stage, Kevin went on to work in television and subsequently movies. He won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Verbal Kint in The Usual Suspects and an Oscar for Best Actor as Lester Burnham in American Beauty.
On stage, his performance in O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh was recognized with the Lawrence Oliver Award for Best Actor and a Tony nomination.
In 1997 Kevin founded TriggerStreet Productions, an entertainment company that has produced The Social Network and the Netflix original series House of Cards.
In 2003 Kevin became the Artistic Director of the Old Vic Theatre and moved to London. He focussed on the importance of encouraging young people to build confidence through drama and developing emerging talent with the award-winning Old Vic New Voices programme.
Kevin made his UK Shakespearean debut in Richard II at the Old Vic in 2006 and in 2008 he was appointed as Cameron Mackintosh Visiting Professor of Contemporary Theatre at Oxford University. In 2010 Kevin was named honorary Commander of the British Empire as recognition for his exceptional work in theatre.
Kevin set up the Kevin Spacey Foundation in the UK in 2010 and in the US in 2013, with the aim of continuing and expanding his work of ‘sending the elevator back down’ by supporting new artistic talent.
Over the course of his career, Kevin has led many acting workshops for young people - sharing his knowledge and experience in the way Jack Lemmon did for him as his mentor. He has delivered classes for emerging artists all over the world through the inaugural Kevin Spacey Foundation project: Richard’s Rampage.
To see Kevin’s full biography visit: www.kevinspacey.com
The Kevin Spacey Foundation works in partnership with Regent’s University London to offer KSF Scholarships to the most talented applicants for the Acting & Global Theatre BA (Hons) and the Screenwriting & Producing BA (Hons).
The BA (Hons) Acting & Global Theatre course reflects the Kevin Spacey Foundation’s commitment to recognising the ‘Global Community’ and to placing itself at the forefront of a ‘world without boundaries’. The course combines the professional rigor and discipline of vocational actor training with a challenging study of theatre cultures of the world.
The Kevin Spacey Foundation team support Regent’s University London in the KSF Scholarships audition process, seeing applicants in both the UK and the US.
The BA (Hons) Screenwriting & Producing program is designed to develop the next generation of writers and producers for the screen - individuals who will work on both sides of the film and television industry.
In addition, Acting & Global Theatre and Screenwriting & Producing students will experience master classes with Kevin Spacey each year.
The KSF Scholarship will cover £10,000 of tuition fees each year for the three years. Applicants in need of further financial support to cover subsistence and travel should state this on the KSF Scholarship application form.
You will be eligible for consideration for the KSF Scholarship if you have received a conditional or unconditional offer for:
Acting and Global Theatre BA (Hons) and have successfully completed an audition.
Complete the application and audition process for the Acting & Global Theatre BA (Hons)
Complete the application process for the Screenwriting & Producing BA (Hons)
Conditions for applying:
The scholarship is open to all applicants who hold a conditional or unconditional offer and have passed an audition to study on the BA (Hons) Acting & Global Theatre or the BA (Hons) Screenwriting & Producing.
You may submit your scholarship application before receiving an offer, but we will only consider you for shortlisting once you have received an offer and passed your audition.
Please note: Any KSF Scholarship applications made directly to the Kevin Spacey Foundation will not be considered – all applications and queries should be directed to Regent’s.
Each year students are awarded KSF Scholarships to further their education in the performing arts. The KSF Scholars are chosen based on their talent and need for support. Find out more about the KSF Scholars and their experiences of university life:
In 2011, Michael Wiseman, an army soldier who has served three terms in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, wrote to KSF to request financial support to take up the place he had been offered at the London School of Musical Theatre. KSF offering him a full scholarship – covering his tuition fees for the year course.
Michael began at LSMT in September 2012 and during his time at the school became more confident as a performer. Having had no previous training or much stage experience, Michael drew on his experiences in the army to create believable characters.
Michael graduated from LSMT in September 2013 having secured Regan Rimmer Management as his agent through his end of year showcase. Since graduating he has worked in TV and on stage.
Collette is from Hastings in East Sussex, UK. She completed a foundation-acting course and gained a place on the Acting & Global Theatre BA at Regent’s after auditioning. However, she was unable to fund the tuition fees so it was suggested she apply for the KSF Scholarship, as this was her only chance of being able to take up her place on the course.
Danilo grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa. Danilo has always wanted to work in theatre; he is passionate about becoming a director. He applied for the KSF Scholarship to study Acting & Global Theatre at Regent’s University, London in the hopes of broadening his understanding of world theatre and to experience the UK theatre scene.
As part of the KSF Scholarship offer at Regent’s University, Kevin Spacey gives a master class each year. Danilo experienced his first workshop with Kevin in November 2013:
Dreni is from London, UK. His mother encouraged him to apply for the KSF Scholarship as he was struggling to find an acting degree course he could afford to attend. The Acting and Global Theatre BA is perfect for him as he has an interest in the theatre of other cultures and it is his dream to become an actor.
Elise is half Belgian and half Dutch and grew up near Brussels. She had already completed a BA degree but was determined to pursue her dreams of becoming an actor. The KSF Scholarship presented her with the best way to fund studying to be an actor on a course that also explores and celebrates world theatre.
Hilton is from Woolwich, London, UK. He is determined to work in the arts and is particularly keen to learn about how different cultures approach storytelling and performance. He was encouraged to apply for the KSF Scholarship by his mother, who is also fascinated by theatre but didn’t pursued her interest and so supports Hilton in his endeavours whole-heartedly.
The KSF Scholarship has meant that Hilton is able to attend university and he is thoroughly enjoying the experience of being at Regent’s.
James is from Peterborough, UK. He would never have considered studying at a private university an option open to him due to the financial implications. He applied for the KSF Scholarship after being offered a place on a different drama course and not being able to afford to go.
James is really enjoying the diversity of the Acting and Global Theatre course and was delighted to participate in a workshop with Kevin Spacey in November 2013:
If you cannot find an answer to your question here please email KSF@regents.ac.uk
You will be eligible for consideration for the KSF Scholarship if you have received either:
A conditional or unconditional offer for the BA (Hons) Acting & Global Theatre, including having successfully passed an RSDFM acting audition. Applications for the scholarship will need to be submitted on or before the deadline of 31 May 2014
OR a conditional or unconditional offer for the BA (Hons) Screenwriting & Producing including successfully submitted script and essay. Applications for the scholarship will need to be submitted on or before the deadline of 31 June 2014
Acting & Global Theatre Scholarship application deadline is 31 May 2014
Screenwriting & Producing Scholarship deadline is 30 June 2014
We are not able to change your form once you have submitted it and you will not be able to send a second application for the same scholarship. We can, with your permission, delete your application and you can start again. To request this please email KSF@regents.ac.uk.
Please note that you cannot make changes to your application form after the advertised closing date.
The KSF Grants support emerging artists to develop creative projects in the performing arts (drama, dance and music) or film.
At the start of your creative career and looking to develop a new performance piece, installation, exhibition, film or script? The KSF Grants are designed to give you the time you need to get your project off the ground.
Anyone* starting a career in the arts can apply for a KSF Grant and we will consider projects from across the performing arts (music, dance and drama) and film, as long as the ideas are innovative and exciting. We are particularly interested in theatre projects.
We offer three levels of grant:
and open to receive applications twice a year (for 5 weeks):
To apply complete the online application form.
Please only submit a KSF Grant application during the advertised open dates above. KSF will not accept applications made outside of these open dates.
The Trustees may use their discretion to offer KSF Grants of above £2,500
(*UK and US residents only at present although KSF is exploring how it might fund projects outside of the UK and US in the near future.)
Twice a year KSF Grants open for applications and award grants to support new projects in performing arts (drama, dance and music) and film. The aim is to help people move their creative projects into the next stage of development or to completion and presentation.
About: In a Birmingham community hall, a group of misfit Midland missionaries attempt to stop the rot of secularism in England. But when a devilish American preacher is hired to help, they realise that the atheists are not the only ones who need saving.
Outcomes: Following a 3-month research and development period, Joe completed a first draft of Bejesus in December 2013, which is now receiving feedback from directors and dramaturgs at the Lyric Hammersmith, Birmingham Rep and Soho Theatre. On 30th January, it received a small scratch performance at the Birmingham Rep Theatre.
About: Embroiled in a cloud of smoke, lonely old bookshop owner, Henry, throws back an entire bottle of painkillers. Years of guilt for a son never traced begin to drift away. The doorbell goes. His son, Joe (19) has come to reveal himself; but thrown off by his father's strange mood, Joe bottles it and enters into a web of lies.
Outcomes: Callow & Sons is to be submitted to national and international film festivals.
About: To take a narrative sketch show based around the most notorious bloodline in human history: The House of Nostril to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Moving between rooms of the house, Casual Violence will tell a variety of characters’ stories through darkly comic sketches that link together forming an overall household narrative.
Outcomes: A successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe, which led to a sell-out run at the Soho Theatre, London and discussions with BBC radio comedy show ‘Sketchorama’
About: Lewis Major was given the opportunity to present an evening of his own work at Sadler's Wells, the UK's premiere theatre for dance, as part of their Wild Card season. Lewis created a new dance work with several dancers exploring what it is to be part of a group: group energy, group mentality and group behaviour.
Outcomes: Corialan premiered at The Curve in Leicester in August 2013 and was then shown as part of TEDx in November – which sold out. The final presentation of the piece at Sadler’s Wells also sold out.
About: Land of Our Fathers, by Chris Urch, is set on the day of the 1979 British General Election, when six men find themselves trapped down a collapsed coalmine in South Wales. Tara Finney produced Land of Our Fathers at Theatre503 in London.
Outcomes: Land of Our Fathers received five star reviews, five Off West End Award nominations and played to sell-out audiences across a four-week run at Theatre503. Since the run, Land of Our Fathers has been named Time Out's Fringe Show of the Year, reaching Number 10 in it's overall 'Top 10 Best Theatre Shows of 2013', and it has just been announced as one of three finalists for Best Production at this year's Off West End Awards. Its hoped the production will transfer into the West End.
About: Little Ones is a short documentary film, it tells the story of a transformative trip undertaken by two young mothers and their children. Both trained as artists, but have ended up devoting their 20s to having children. Now they are retreating to rural Wales: ostensibly to plan and perform a shadow puppet show, they will also use this retreat to face facts and make hard decisions regarding their futures.
Outcomes: Little Ones had its public world premiere, following a positive private screening at the British Film Institute, at Underwire Film Festival where it was nominated for a Best Producer award.
About: MOTH by Declan Greene is a new play about two young people, Sebastian and Claryssa, who feel excluded from society and struggle with their emotional difficulties. David Luff produced Moth at the Bush Theatre, London, following a premiere at the HighTide Festival.
Outcomes: Since a successful run at Bush Theatre, David is exploring venues to tour Moth to in the future.
“Ingenious lighting and deftly employed sound-effects are the finishing touches to an enigmatic production … it rivets the attention.”
About: Puja Nights tells the story of Priya, a teenage girl living in Ilford with her devout mother. Life in their suburban household revolves around the worship of ancient Hindu idols. But Priya longs for the glamour of Bollywood and, to her mother’s dismay, worships only the comically dashing Indian action hero Como Basmati. When Cosmo comes to town to promote his latest feature, their conflict comes to a head.
Outcomes: Puja Nights had a premiere screening at the BFI Southbank as part of the London Borough Film Fund Challenge, and was submitted for the Best of Boroughs Award. Most recently Puja Nights screened at the London Short Film Festival. As a result of the experience she gained on Puja Nights, Isabella de Rosario is now working at BBC Radio Drama.
About: Clemmie is the co-founder of theatre company, Made By Brick, she was given the opportunity to stage Responsible Other at the Hampstead Theatre (downstairs) in a five week run in June 2013. Written in consultation with staff and patients at the Lupus Unit at St Thomas’ Hospital, the play focuses on Daisy, a teenager from the Midlands who is travelling to London for specialist treatment.
Outcomes: Responsible Other had a successful run at the Hampstead Theatre downstairs and it received four and five star reviews in the national press. Clemmie Forfar is now working as a full time producer.
About: Inspired by the canopy scientists who use miniature hot air balloons to study rainforest canopies, Science in the Sky is an immersive, participatory outdoor spectacle, incorporating physical and visual theatre, narrative storytelling, theatrical illusion, and science.
Outcomes: Science in the Sky has had a two-week research and development period and has subsequently been offered a residency at an Arts Centre to further develop and show the piece in 2014.
About: ‘Silent Laughter’ follows one lonely student who simply wishes for acceptance. Is comedy the way to achieve this? ‘Silent Laughter’ is a live-action, silent short film, which explores the fundamental need for mankind to feel socially valued and the role which comedy plays in our society and whether the pursuit of comic fame will bring the popularity we crave.
Outcomes: David is now working to get Silent Laughter onto the shortlists for a number of Short Film Festivals around the UK, Europe and the USA. These include Liverpool and London Lift-Off Festivals, Raindance, Edinburgh Film Festival, NYC Shorts, Clermont-Ferard and Festroia in Setubal, Portgual.
About: In a world where all forms of art are made illegal, audiences are invited into a derelict, abandoned theatre. Once inside, they are free to explore, and slowly discover an underground community where artists and performers are secretly creating or staging work.
Outcomes: Having used the KSF Grant to research and develop this piece, Joe is now approaching possible venues in the hopes of staging Situation in 2014.
About: Tap Tap Theatre are a collective of theatre makers from Bristol University. The KSF Grant enabled us to take our show 'Men', a dark comedy by Bruntwood Prize shortlisted and Royal Court Young Writer, Miriam Battye, to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Outcomes: Following a successful run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Tap Tap transferred their show to the Arcola Theatre in London and now have a tour booked which takes them to: the New Diorama Theatre, the Wickham Theatre, Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival, VAULT Festival, Bestival and Latitude Festival.
About: A family of three has its identity stolen by another family of three. This family is displaced from their home by these incomers who look just like them. The two families must fight it out - and in the confusion we loose track of who are the 'original' family and who are the 'intruders'.
Outcomes: Joe has completed a first draft of the script and is currently in discussion with new writing theatres in the hopes of having his play realised.
About: Upper Cut is a political drama of hope and betrayal. Traveling backwards through time it searches for the fight for black representation through today’s Coalition politics, the birth of New Labour and into the troubled heart of a Labour Party struggling under the might of Thatcher’s Tory revolution, consigned to the political wilderness of constant electoral defeat.
Outcomes: A staged reading of Upper Cut happened in 2013 at Tara Arts. The collective have now registered themselves as an official company to continue to make political theatre.
About: Wolverhampton Central Youth Theatre was invited to the World Festival of Amateur Theatre in Monaco to represent the UK. A group of 16 young people travelled to Monaco and perform an adaptation of Nikita Mikhalkov’s ‘Burnt by the Sun’ in the Salle Garnier Opera House in Monte Carlo.
Outcomes: The young people involved in this production experienced an international theatre festival and represented their country.
Yes. KSF will ask you to submit a report when your project is complete or at its next developmental stage as outlined in your application.
You will also be expected to contribute to online content about the project such as photographs from rehearsals, blogs or films etc.
KSF WILL allocate Grants of £500 - £2,500 to:
Individuals / groups (UK or US residents) at the start of their careers in the performing arts (drama, dance and music) or film who present projects which:
The Kevin Spacey Foundation aims to train, support and mentor emerging artists in the performing arts and film.
Through the KSF Grants the foundation supports emerging talent in the performing arts (drama, dance and music) and film. By giving KSF Grants to new projects that are in the first stages of development, are near completion or are ready to be presented, KSF is enabling the practitioners of the future to realize exciting, innovative ideas.
The KSF Scholarships are designed to give anyone wanting to attain a Higher education in the arts the chance to attend university. The costs involved in studying after school are beyond many people’s means, leaving talented, determined individuals with very few options. The foundation partners with universities to give selected students financial support and offer exceptional learning experiences with leading industry professionals including Kevin Spacey.
Richard’s Rampage, the inaugural project from The Kevin Spacey Foundation, was a hugely ambitious creative learning initiative spanning eight countries and three continents connecting young people and emerging artists ON STAGE, IN SCHOOL and ONLINE. To find out more please visit www.richardsrampage.com
The foundation has new projects in development which will be featured on the website in due course.