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Hannah Wakelam, a nineteen year old York musical theatre performer, has launched a competition to find the very best of local talent.  Hannah, who has appeared many times on the Joseph Rowntree Theatre stage, is running the event to help the theatre’s recently launched Raise the Roof campaign.  The theatre needs to find £90,000 to go towards roof repairs to ensure that it will be around for future generations of Yorkshire performers. Entries are open from now until the 1st August, the prize money is £100 and the winner will be decided by a panel of three star judges.

Heading up the panel is Laura Pick, a local girl from Wakefield, who, until the COVID lockdown, was playing the role of Elphaba in Wicked in the West End. Alongside Laura will be experienced musical theatre performers Nathan Lodge and Amelia Urukalo. Nathan, originally from York and no stranger to the Joseph Rowntree Theatre, has many West End credits and has had a very successful career as a vocal captain on cruise ships.  Amelia is a vocal coach with much experience in judging talent competitions and is the owner of performing arts studio Upstage Academy in Ripon.

Graham Mitchell, the theatre’s Events and Fundraising Director says,” Hannah got in touch with us the very day that our appeal was launched and offered to do a fundraiser within the overall campaign.  Already we have had lots of people express an interest in the contest and now that the judges have been announced, we expect levels of interest to take off!”

The theatre launched its Raise the Roof campaign last month by creating an online music video put together “virtually” during lockdown.  Last Saturday morning, an online fitness class and raised almost £300 for the campaign. The current total stands at £2,673, more than half of the targeted £5,000 amount for this early part of the overall campaign which has a total target of £90,000. Almost one hundred people have donated so far and the campaign is gathering momentum. 

Dan Shrimpton, Chair of Trustees of the charity says, “We launched the campaign with several of our own team performing a music video, then we held an online fitness class hosted by Hannah King, which lots of our supporters took part in. “Yorkshire’s Got Talent” is the third event in a chain of many fundraisers which we already have in the pipeline. We know this competition will be hugely popular as it’s open to everyone in the Yorkshire region, whether they’ve performed at our venue or not.  It’s simply a celebration of local talent, all the while supporting a great community cause. ”