Doreen Weaver wanted to created a legacy for Brian, who passed away in December 2012 and had a lifelong passion for acting.
The 78-year-old, of Park Road, has now selected the first recipient of the Brian Weaver Fellowship, Adam Horvath, after holding auditions for 17 hopefuls earlier this month.
Doreen hopes to provide the aspiring Derbyshire actor with the opportunity of professional paid work, invaluable experience and exciting opportunities.
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She chose to support the 21-year-old, of Derby, with her own finances for 12 weeks as he rehearses and stars in The Odyssey this month at Derby Theatre, plus another production in the autumn.
He will receive a full time professional actor’s wage for both and will be provided with mentoring, a platform to invite agents and showcase his work and access to the theatre’s staff, various networks and the wider industry.
Doreen said: “I wanted to keep Brian’s name in the theatre. When he was starting out he was offered a role for £5 a week and he turned it down because he couldn’t afford it. It could have been his big break.
“When he was in Macbeth at school, he also got offered a place at the New Rep Theatre in London but couldn’t take it due to lack of money. His dad was a coal miner and wanted him to get ‘a proper job’.
“He would have loved Adam, he’s very talented. He just needed a foot on the ladder. That was what Brian needed too unfortunately.”
Adam’s first involvement with the arts dates back to when he was a member of the Derby Playhouse Youth Theatre at the age of 14, when he performed in a production of The Tempest.
He remained a member of the theatre until he was 19 when he then became involved with Derby LIVE Community Theatre and performed in Peer Gynt, Lysistrata and Cranford The Musical.
Working with both the youth and community theatre groups provided Adam with opportunities to work in a professional capacity at Derby Theatre, as a supernumerary in Derby LIVE productions, The Merchant of Venice and Broken Hearted.
He has also done voiceovers for a number of CBBC adverts and is involved with the Derby Shakespeare Theatre Company.
Adam said: “I’m absolutely over the moon at being offered this opportunity. I’ve still not stopped smiling and can’t wait to get started.
“I’m so lucky to get the chance to do what I love, in the place and city that I love. I can’t say how grateful I am to Doreen and hopefully I’ll do Brian proud!”
Originally from Clowne, Brian directed and performed in many plays over the course of his life and even ran a theatre workshop for the Buxton and District U3A.