Providing for the performers of the future
Since the start of the pandemic, every industry has been badly affected. One of the most crippled by the lockdowns are the theatre and live events industries, which provide work for thousands of creatives. From hair and makeup, through to lighting, costume design and of course the talented performers, the future of the West End and many live shows has looked in peril.
However, as restrictions gradually ease, everything is starting to look more positive. This is what made the most recent Future Fund auditions so heartwarming. Young people who go to theatre schools across the UK attended an online audition to secure funds for their post 16 training at performing arts colleges or universities as they embark on their dreams as a professional performer.
The students all attend Razzamataz Theatre Schools and took part in the Future Fund auditions judged by a panel of industry experts. Although the franchise theatre school network has faced huge difficulties with lockdowns and restrictions on class sizes, it was never in doubt that the network would come together to be able to offer young people the chance of scholarships to assist them in their fees and expenses to go to college.
“This past year has been so tough on young people who have had to put many of their dreams on hold,” explains Denise Hutton-Gosney, MD and Founder of Razzamataz Theatre Schools. “They have shown a huge amount of resilience and commitment to continue their training and we are so proud of them all. We have been running the Future Fund scholarships since 2015 and this year we felt that these students needed a boost more than ever before. We are so grateful to all of our Principals and their customers for continuing to support the Future Fund, our registered charity, with their fundraising. It is allowing us to support the next talented generation of performers.”
And the winners are
Ten students from across the Razzamataz network attended the online audition in front of two very experienced musical theatre performers. The overall winner was Ruby Tyree who attends Razzamataz Sheffield with runners up Jodie Crouch from Razzamataz Cambridge and Portia Jefferies from Razzamataz Medway. Ruby was awarded £3,000 and Jodie and Portia £500.
There were ten shortlisted finalists in total who all were given £100 and a goodie bag. These were: Ellie Johnstone and Aimee Farmer from Razzamataz Sutton Coldfield, Elle Coe from Razzamataz Derby, Emma Cattermole, Melissa Park and Jessica Boyko from Razzamataz Carlisle and Kiernan Harris from Razzamataz Torbay.
Meet the judges
To give the students a real taste of the professional world, Razzamataz was delighted to welcome two experienced West End performers. Carly Thoms has played Miss Honey in Matilda the Musical, Miss Dorothy in Thoroughly Modern Millie and Leisl/First Cover Maria in The Sound Of Music, among many more credits. Jennifer Tierney is currently in the West End’s Come From Away, she was previously cover of Elphaba in Wicked as well as performing in Mamma Mia, Shrek the Musical and many more.
The judges enjoyed every single performance and after much deliberating, decided to offer the winner’s place to Ruby. They said: “Ruby doesn’t know how good she is. She is an endearing and engaging performer in all three disciplines of dance, acting and singing. She came across as genuine and we urge her to believe in herself and her talent.”
The Future Fund was set up to provide scholarships for Razzamataz students wishing to take their training to a professional level post 16. Denise experienced what it was like to not be able to continue her own training after securing a place at a college through lack of funds. “I was devasted to not be able to continue at college because I just didn’t have the means to pay for it,” she explains. “This year has been hard for many people so we are even more delighted to be able to play a small part in making dreams come true for our students. We know how hard they have all worked and we can’t wait to see them pursue their ambitions.”
Former winners of the Future Fund have gone on to perform professionally in iconic West End shows such as Hamilton. As theatres start to return, Razzamataz is looking forward to watching the progress of the next generation of young performers.
The Future Fund is just one of the many incentives and opportunities that Head Office provide to its franchisees to help them recruit and retain students. Franchisees come from a wide range of backgrounds, attracted by the flexible nature of the work and the chance to make a significant and positive difference in the lives of young people in their local communities.
Judges’ comments: winner Ruby
Dance: Fun routine and well- presented and Ruby attacked everything with incredible strength.
Acting: Well done for pushing yourself out of the comfort zone.
Singing: Connected really well and felt like an honest performance. She was thinking about what she was singing about.
Hear from Ruby
Delighted Ruby who is planning on attending Bolton University said: “I’ve been on cloud nine since I found out, it just didn’t feel real. I didn’t feel I deserved it at first so it’s given me such a confidence boost. The funds will be such a great help with my course, thank you so much.”
Razzamataz Future Fund winners
2015 – Lauryn Jamieson, Razzamataz Carlisle – Rose Bruford
2016 – Rosalia Morales, Razzamataz Rayleigh West – The Arts Educational School
2017 – Lucas Cooper, Razzamataz Medway – Reynolds Performing Arts College
2018 – Sarah Burrows, Razzamataz Carlisle – University of Cumbria
2019 – Morgan Hawley Townsend, Razzamataz Mansfield – Read College
2020 – Lewis Logie, Razzamataz Carlisle – Northern School of Contemporary Dance
2021 – Ruby Tyree, Razzamataz Sheffield – Shockout Arts / Bolton University
2022 – Could it be you…?
Join our network
We are currently looking to launch more theatre schools across the UK and overseas. If you would like to find out more about our ambitious growth plans and be part of multi-award-winning Razzamataz Theatre Schools network, drop Charlotte a line from our friendly Head Office team to book on to one of our virtual Discovery Dens. Razzamataz is delighted to announce its new partnership with Barclays for your franchise finance needs.
Occasionally franchise territories come up for re-sale due to a change in the franchisees’ personal circumstances or simply because they have decided to sell their asset and reap the rewards of their hard work. These re-sale schools very rarely stay on the market for long, so if you are interested, don’t delay in contacting us. Re-sale schools in:
- Horsham, West Sussex
- High Wycombe, Berkshire
- Paisley, Renfrewshire
- Derby, East Midlands
Email: [email protected]