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Chch teen wins prestigious $20,000 US scholarship

Oliver Davidson
Oliver Davidson performing in Evita at the Isaac Theatre Royal  Danielle Colvin, Showbiz Christchurch

Christchurch teenager Oliver Davidson took to the stage at the 2017 performing arts world champs and won a $20,000 scholarship to a New York college.

The 18-year-old from Papanui competed in acting, singing, dancing and modelling at a California event last month. More than 450 acts from 50 countries competed.

He was handpicked to walk the catwalk of the Grand Finale of the annual event, where noteworthy acts are invited to perform in a televised showcase.

Having started performing at the age of seven, it was no surprise that Davidson was a natural on the catwalk.

"I went over there for acting and dancing, mainly, but I managed to get into the showcase for modelling," he said. "It was a wee bit funny."

Davidson won gold in the formal and swimwear categories for modelling.

His performances in Jazz dance and the contemporary acting division earned him silver medals and an invitation to speak with a representative from the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts. The college then offered him a $20,000 scholarship.

Davidson said he hoped to inspire other Kiwis to have a go at performing arts.

"As New Zealanders, we always put ourselves down and think that we’re not good enough," he said.

"We may be over the other side of the world but there’s still opportunity to get over there and be seen."

Following in the footsteps of previous Kiwi entrants, Davidson plans to use his scholarship to undertake a two-year course in performing arts at the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts, starting mid-2018.

"Getting to the finals was good and all, but the thing I’m really proud of is the scholarship."

Davidson is in his first year of a Bachelor of Performing Arts at the University of Otago, but will put these studies on hold in light of the opportunity to study in the stage capital of world.

He would hold fundraising events to help pay for his move to the United States.