Carleton Hobbs Award 2023: Interview with Zoe Zak

13 April 2023

LAMDA student Zoe Zak feels like all her hard work has paid off after receiving a special mention as a finalist at the BBC Carleton Hobbs Bursary Awards.

Zoe was commended by the judging panel for ‘Best Duologue’ along with fellow LAMDA student Tyler Cameron for Consensual by Evan Placey.

The awards are named after actor Carleton Hobbs, OBE, who portrayed Sherlock Holmes in 80 adaptations in a series of radio dramas, with winners awarded a bursary to join the Radio Drama Company in late July on a five-month contract up to Christmas. The Radio Drama Company (RDC), which was founded in 1939, allows freshly discovered acting talent the chance to work alongside established actors in a wide range of radio productions. 

Far from being put off by performing in front of the judging panel virtually, Zoe revelled in the environment, saying: “I really loved performing the solos and the duologue virtually. I did a lot of preparation and felt really excited to be representing LAMDA. Tyler and I worked really hard on the duologue and it was great for us both to be commended for this. I was also really pleased to receive a special mention from the panel. It’s thrilling to receive this type of recognition.”

Zoe has been an actress for more than a decade but decided to apply to LAMDA to further enhance her acting skills and abilities, enrolling on a two-year postgraduate MFA Professional Acting course in September 2021.

Zoe said: “I have felt constantly inspired at LAMDA since I joined the school two years ago. It’s been incredible. The attention to detail that the training has given me is exactly what I was after, and I’ve met some truly special people. I wanted to find a tribe and I’ve found that at LAMDA, not just in my year group but across the whole school. It’s a real community.”

Zoe also paid tribute to LAMDA teacher Anna Barkan. “Anna Barkan has been like my ‘acting mum’. She’s got such a depth of knowledge and I feel so lucky to have been taught by her. She, along with many others, created a space for me to really develop in ways I wasn’t able to prior to my training. 

“At LAMDA, you do classes across screen, radio and stage, and I wouldn’t have gained the knowledge I now have without LAMDA. When I complete my course, I can approach the industry with the recognisable and highly respected name of LAMDA on my CV, which will hopefully leave me better placed to secure acting work in the future.”

Amy Cudden, Co-Head of Screen, Audio, Digital Performance and Innovation at LAMDA, said: “Zoe worked incredibly hard and the feedback from the panel reflected this. We’re very proud of the fact Zoe, along with Tyler, were awarded the top duologue commendation. 

“This is a huge win for the students, for the Screen and Audio department and for LAMDA. It signals LAMDA’s continued commitment to pour energy and love into the medium of audio and, along with our partnership with Audible, offers practical pathways into the profession.”