Wimbledon graduates delighted after winning prestigious art prize


Recipients of the Wandle Studio Prize receive a year’s free studio space


By Sarah Williams

Three graduates from Wimbledon College of Art have won a prestigious new prize to help them develop a prop and puppet-making enterprise.

The Wandle Studio Prize grants winners a year’s free studio space at Merton Abbey Mills, worth approximately £6,000, and a £3,000 grant towards developing a business.

Winners Eleanor Brereton, 21, Rachel Sheppard and Adam Edwards, both 22, decided to enter the competition as a group after graduating in BA Theatre & Screen: Technical Arts & Special Effects.

“We really weren’t expecting to win,” said Rachel

“We thought our presentation had gone well but we knew that there was a bit of competition, so we were really shocked.”

The graduates worked together on their first paid commission whilst still in their third year, creating a life-like Capuchin monkey puppet from scratch for Flabbergast Theatre.

They are now fitting out their new studio with equipment and materials, whilst gaining further experience working at Set Square Staging until September.

“Our aim is to become a recognised small prop-making company that people can go to for small-scale prop commissions of all kinds, ” Rachel said.

“At the moment our biggest challenge is trying to get contacts so we can have people coming to us with jobs.”

However the trio, who have named their start-up EAR studios, have already received their first commission for a design company, which they will start next month.

The Wandle Studio Prize is open to third year BA Theatre and Screen and BA Fine Art students at Wimbledon College of Art.

It was created with support from Merton Abbey Mills, Univesity of the Arts London’s Student Enterprise and Employability service, Chelsea Art Club Trust and the Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon Enterprise collective.

Terry Buckland of Merton Abbey Mills, who awarded the graduates the prize, said: “We interviewed them, met them and were very, very impressed.”

Photo courtesy of, with thanks.

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