Outlander actor Sam Heughan is helping to find the next generation of screen stars by funding a new 10-year scholarship programme in his name at the drama school where he studied.
Heughan, best known for his role as warrior Jamie Fraser in the hit historical TV drama Outlander, graduated from the BA Acting degree course at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS) in Glasgow in 2003.
Now, he has invested in three annual scholarships for undergraduate students in the School of Drama, Dance, Production and Film who may otherwise have been unable to study there.
The scholarships will be awarded for the new academic year in September to two Scottish students who are taking up places on the BA Acting programme and a non-Scottish student on any course within the School of Drama, Dance, Production and Film.
RCS declined to reveal how much the 10-year scholarship fund is worth, instead stating that it is “a significant, annual commitment over the next 10 years”.
Heughan is also funding the Sam Heughan Scriptwriting Award which will be introduced later this year.
He said: “I was inspired to start the Sam Heughan Scholarship from my years at drama school.
“I came here many years ago and just recall how difficult it was for me then and, obviously, in the current environment, especially with the pandemic, things are equally or doubly as hard for students.
“I really wanted to create a scholarship that would support young students.”
He added: “I learned so much from what was the Royal Scottish Academy [of Music and Drama] – now the conservatoire – just the support that they gave me and even now, the community that they’ve built.
“It felt really important to be able to give back. I feel very lucky in my career and where I’ve found myself in the industry.
“To help, I guess, inspire some of the students as well and to support them because I know that there’s so much creativity and talent coming out of this very special building.”
RCS Principal, Professor Jeffrey Sharkey, said: “Sam Heughan is an inspiration – not only is he known and loved by millions around the world thanks to his role in Outlander but he is also passionately committed to his charitable work in which he has made such an extraordinary difference to the lives of others.
“Sam firmly believes in giving back, in sharing the opportunities that he experienced studying at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.”
He added: “We thank Sam deeply for this generous gift of scholarship and we look forward to working with Sam to create fantastic opportunities for students, who will follow in the footsteps of a wonderful ambassador not just for RCS, but for Scotland.”
Heughan is not the only star to fund a scholarship programme at his alma mater, with former RCS student James McAvoy having previously pledged £125,000 to pay for a 10-year scholarship programme to help fund places for people under the age of 25 who would otherwise be unable to afford to study there.