Denise Halbach Performance Scholarship

About the Scholarship

The Denise Halbach Performance Scholarship is awarded to a student pursuing a graduate degree in acting or musical theatre performance. The award is named for Denise Halbach, a past president of SETC and 2011 recipient of the Suzanne M. Davis Memorial Award.

Denise Halbach
Denise Halbach

2019-2020 Halbach Performance Scholarship

Thank you to everyone who applied to the 2019-2020 Denise Halbach Performance Scholarship! We’re pleased to announce Charence Higgins as this year’s recipient. Applications for 2020-2021 scholarships will be available by Jan. 1, 2020; check back then for updated guidelines and details.

Charence Higgins headshot

Congratulations, Charence Higgins!

Charence Higgins, 24, is a Mississippi native who has had a passion for acting as long as she can remember. She holds degrees in Psychology and Theatre from Jackson State University and is currently continuing her education at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign as a candidate in the MFA Acting program. Past roles include Judy in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Goneril in the premiere of Fools & Madmen, Sister Thea Bowman in Thea’s Turn, Miss Evers in Miss Evers’ Boys, along with several historic roles at the Smithsonian Institute’s American History Museum and African American History Museum in Washington, DC. She recently competed in the National Society of Arts & Letters National Drama Competition and placed 5th in the country. She is elated to use her talents to portray thought-provoking roles and continue to teach and develop future theatre artists!

Selection Process and Timeline

  • Applications Accepted: Jan. 1 – April 1, 2019
  • Application Reviews / Candidate Interviews: April – June 2019
  • Winning Scholar Announced on SETC Website: June 30, 2019
  • Scholarship Funds Available: Upon Proof of Matriculation, 2019-2020 Academic Year
  • Winning Scholar Attends SETC Convention: 71st Annual Convention; Louisville, KY; Feb. 26 – Mar. 1, 2020

One Scholar Will Receive

  • $2,000
  • Free one-year SETC student membership
  • Free registration for the 2020 SETC Convention
  • Photo and bio recognition on the SETC website

Eligibility

Candidates must meet each of these qualifications to be eligible for this award:

  • You must be planning to attend an accredited graduate program of Acting, Performance or Musical Theatre during the 2019-2020 academic year.
  • You must have completed undergraduate work at a regionally accredited institution in one of the following 10 states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia or West Virginia.

Applications Materials

For consideration, eligible candidates must submit the following materials in a single, multi-page PDF document to info@setc.org by the deadline:

  • Completed Application Form
  • Personal letter outlining plans and objectives for graduate study in acting or musical theatre performance
  • A recording (website link preferred) of the candidate performing three contrasting monologues of less than two minutes each; presentation of a song from musical theatre may take the place of one or two of the monologues
  • A detailed resume of all theatre work
  • The candidate’s headshot
  • 2-3 letters of recommendation from professional directors or teachers familiar with the applicant’s work in either educational or professional settings; letters must include contact information for the reference provider
  • Complete transcripts from all colleges/universities attended

Questions?

Questions about submitting application materials should be sent to info@setc.org. Other questions about this scholarship should be sent to Halbach Scholarship Chair Trent Blanton.

Scholarship Stories

Recent Halbach Performance Scholars share what winning the scholarship meant to their studies and how the award funds helped them pursue their ambitions:

LaShondra Hood ~ 2018-2019 Scholar

“Winning this scholarship helped me defray the cost of conferences this year. I was able to attend three conferences with this scholarship and start to lay the foundation for the next step! As I approach graduation, I am excited to say that I booked my first professional job through SETC this year!”

Anita Salley ~ 2015 Scholar

“SETC’s Denise Halbach Award enabled me to purchase much needed books and supplies while also helping with tuition costs in my first year of graduate school. In total, I was able to work on 10 shows as a cast or crew member, travel to Los Angeles for a two-week screenwriting intensive and perform my thesis role as Lady Bracknell during my three years of study. On May 6, 2017, I received my MFA in Acting with an A average from Regent University in front of family and friends. In the past three months, I have been able to start teaching right away by giving a four-week drama camp at my high school alma mater and teaching dance and drama at a local community center’s summer camp. I am currently teaching movement and musical theatre as a faculty member at the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan. In 2015, even though I could not attend the awards program because I was in a show, I received a lovely letter from Ms. Halbach and a beautiful tiara. That meant a lot to me at a time when I was unsure if I would be able to finish my program. I’m very grateful for the award and can personally attest to its value and necessity for young theatre professionals.”

Thomas Azar ~ 2014 Scholar

“The Denise Halbach Award helped me afford to take a year off from professional work to pursue my MFA with the Shakespeare Theatre Company. Living in the DC area is quite expensive, but thanks to the Award, I got the chance to study with some of the top classical acting faculty in the country. Transportation costs and living expenses were covered in large part thanks to the generosity of Denise Halbach and SETC, allowing me to seize an opportunity to sharpen my skills as an actor.”

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