GSA Final Year BA Actor, Francesco Piacentini-Smith has won the prestigious Spotlight Award for Best Screen Actor Award presented by stars of stage and screen Imelda Staunton and Josette Simon.

Francesco said “I’m so chuffed to have won this award. The standard of everyone’s performances was of such an exceptional standard and so to have been recognised by the judges is incredibly humbling.”

Over 70 Drama schools are invited to submit nominations for two awards – Best Stage Actor and Best Screen Actor Spotlight Awards and just 20 finalists were selected by a panel of industry experts based on the quality of their audition. Nominees took part in a screen acting workshop earlier in July and their final performances were filmed and judged by a panel of leading casting directors for TV and film. These performances were screened as part of the theatre showcase, and footage was shared with industry professionals throughout Ireland, the UK and the U.S.

The final on 17 July, to select the Best Screen Acting Performance and Best Stage Performance, was held in front of an invite-only audience of casting directors, agents, producers, directors and actors.

Trevor Rawlins, Head of Acting and Performance at GSA said: “Francesco’s screen work has been of a consistently high standard. The Fall and Unforgotten actress Bronagh Waugh, herself a GSA graduate, teaches screen acting at GSA and found him particularly impressive. We are thrilled his talent has been recognised by such a prestigious industry panel.”

GSA Head Sean McNamara added “In a year which has seen a sell-out production of Cats, a West End transfer for our Actor Musician production of Daisy Pulls it Off, and GSA 2018 BA Actor Eilidh Loan won the Alan Bates Award, Francesco winning this coveted prize is a fitting end to this successful year in our graduation week.”