Yorkshire’s Got Talent goes live on Sunday in fundraiser for Joseph Rowntree Theatre

Ed Atkin, winner of last year’s Yorkshire’s Got Talent competition, who will perform at Sunday’s showcase

YORKSHIRE’S Got Talent – Live! is NOT a contest, more a celebration of the best of the White Rose’s young dance, comedy and music performers, at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, on Sunday.

“This weekend’s show isn’t actually a competition,” explains Nathan Lodge. “The competition happened in 2020 throughout lockdown and concluded last September last year with Edward (Ed) Atkin as the overall winner.

“During the online contest, the group on Facebook reached more than 4,000 followers and the final public vote for the winner had 1,378 votes.” 

The competition was brought to life by York theatre student Hannah Wakelam, who wanted to raise money for the JoRo, where she first cut her performing teeth.

Nathan Lodge: One of the judges for last year’s contest, who will sing at Sunday’s show

“There were three judges throughout the process,” says Nathan, a West End regular and cruise-ship vocal captain, from York.  “Alongside me were Amelia Urukako, owner of Upstage Academy in Ripon, and Laura Pick, from Wakefield, who’s playing Elphaba in Wicked in the West End, all of us hailing from Yorkshire.”

The overall winner was decided by a combination of the judges, a public vote and a panel of theatre industry experts: Rachel Tucker, Kerry Ellis, Natalie Paris, Matthew Croke, Nicolas McClean and Paul Taylor-Mills.

“We promised the contestants who made the top 13 – the top ten plus three judges’ wildcards – that they could do a live show, so a year later, with a couple of date changes thanks to Covid!, we’re fulfilling our promise!”

2020 contestant Sam Rippon: In Sunday’s line-up for Yorkshire’s Got Talent – Live

Yorkshire’s Got Talent – Live features eight of the top ten acts from the competition: winner Ed Atkin, fellow finalists Fladam (Florence Poskitt and Adam Sowter) and Jordan Wright, plus contestants Sam Rippon, Daisy Winbolt-Robertson, Harvey Stevens, Florence Taylor and Richard Bayton.

“The evening will feature an eclectic mix of musical theatre, opera, comedy and dance, and we promise a thoroughly entertaining show, bursting with joie de vivre, from these stars of the future,” says Nathan.

The event will be hosted by Jordan Langford, from Scarborough, who will sing too. He had a career in musical theatre before becoming a theatre creative and is soon to study for an MA in contemporary directing practice at Rose Bruford College, London. 

Hannah Wakelam: York theatre student set up last year’s Yorkshire’s Got Talent contest to raise funds for the Joseph Rowntree Theatre

“Sadly, Laura Pick has a Sunday matinee schedule now in Wicked, post-Covid reopening, so she’s unable to perform with us but wishes she could,” says Nathan. “We’ll miss her!

“I’ll be performing in the evening, including singing a duet with winner Ed Atkin, who was my wildcard act to join the top ten of the competition. Just before the pandemic, I was the vocal captain performing on board M/S Color Fantasy.”

The band will be led by musical director Matthew Peter Clare on an evening when everyone will be giving their services for free. “Nobody is getting paid,” says Nathan. “Instead, all the profits from Sunday’s fundraiser will go to the Joseph Rowntree Theatre to add to the total raised by the competition last year.”

Tickets for the 7pm show are on sale on 01904 501935 or at josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.

After talent contest, Rowntree Theatre appoints Hannah as Young Ambassador

Hannah Wakelam: The Joseph Rowntree Theatre’s inaugural Young Ambassador

THE Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, has appointed Hannah Wakelam as its first Young Ambassador.

Musical theatre performer Hannah, 19, was responsible for setting up and running the online Yorkshire’s Got Talent contest reached its final last weekend, won by York performer and composer Ed Atkin.

Through this virtual contest and other online competitions, Hannah raised more than £1,200 for the Haxby Road theatre’s £90,000 Raise Tthe Roof appeal and boosted the theatre’s youth following.

She approached the JoRo theatre early on in its campaign to suggest ways she could help in raising funds for the roof appeal for the Art Deco building.  The Yorkshire’s Got Talent online contest quickly attracted entrants and followers and membership of its Facebook group surged to almost 4,000. 

Graham Mitchell, the JoRo’s events and fundraising director, says: “Hannah’s enthusiasm and support for our cause are infectious. She’s achieved huge things in a short space of time and has brought the theatre’s Raise The Roof appeal to the attention of thousands of people.”

In recognition of those achievements, the theatre has decided to name Hannah as its first Young Ambassador. “This new role will see Hannah supported by the board of trustees as she continues to raise awareness of the theatre among younger theatregoers,” says Graham.

A delighted Hannah says: “The support for the Yorkshire’s Got Talent competition and the money it raised blew me away!  I absolutely love this theatre, I’ve performed in it so many times and we need it to survive so that it can exist as a training ground for young people, both on and off stage.”

Although Yorkshire’s Got Talent may be over, Hannah continues to work with the theatre’s fundraising and marketing teams, creating online content for Facebook and Instagram.

Video tours of the JoRo will be available to view soon, seen through Hannah’s eyes and in her words, and soon too she will be launching a huge raffle for the appeal. Already she is on the lookout for prize donations.

Highlighting the opportunities that the JoRo offers to young people, only last week York-born actor David Bradley lent his support to the roof appeal.

“The Joseph Rowntree Theatre has been a vital part of the city for many years,” says the Harry Potter and Game Of Thrones star.  “I know from personal experience that it has provided opportunities for so many young people and I will always be grateful for that. I fully support the Raise The Roof appeal and wish it every success.”

Last Sunday’s Yorkshire’s Got Talent final was decided by a public poll, the contest judges and six other West End and Broadway industry professionals. Ed Atkin emerged as the winner, beating Fladam (silly-song duo Florence Poskitt and Adam Sowter) and Jordan Wright.

The judges were Wakefield performer Laura Pick, who was playing Elphaba in Wicked in the West End until lockdown, West End regular and cruise ship vocal captain Nathan Lodge and Ripon vocal coach Amelia Urukalo.

Industry professionals involved in judging were Rachel Tucker, Kerry Ellis, Natalie Paris, Matthew Croke, Nicholas McClean and Paul Taylor-Mills.

For the Raise The Roof campaign, the JoRo has set up a Just Giving page and is encouraging donations of “even just the amount of a takeaway coffee” at: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/Raise-the-Roof

Ed and shoulders above the rest as Atkin wins Yorkshire’s Got Talent competition

ED Atkin has won Yorkshire’s Got Talent, the online contest organised by York teenage musical actor Hannah Wakelam in aid of the Joseph Rowntree Theatre’s £90,000 Raise The Roof appeal.

After weeks of searching for “the best talent that Yorkshire can offer”, the judges combined yesterday with guest panellists and the public to vote for the winner from a final three of Atkin, Jordan Wright and Fladam (the silly-song double act of Florence Poskitt and pianist Adam Sowter).

Donations and entry fees saw this fundraiser reach its £1,000 target, and if you have not donated yet, you can still do so by visiting: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Yorkshiresgottalent.

Judging the competition from the start were Wicked star in the West End, Laura Pick, cruise-ship vocal captain Nathan Lodge and vocal coach Amelia Urukalo.

Ed Atkin last appeared on a York stage in Pick Me Up Theatre’s Covid-curtailed production of Tom Midnight’s Garden at Theatre @41 Monkgate in March, playing Peter and composing the score too.

Who will win Yorkshire’s Got Talent? Find out at 8pm tonight after votes close at 7pm

Glittering prize: Today is judgement day for Yorkshire’s Got Talent

WHO will win Yorkshire’s Got Talent, the contest organised by York teenage musical actor Hannah Wakelam in aid of the Joseph Rowntree Theatre’s £90,000 Raise The Roof appeal.

Today is the final of this online competition, and the choice lies between Fladam (the silly-song double act of Florence Poskitt and pianist Adam Sowter), Ed Atkin and Jordan Wright.

Hannah has created a poll for public votes that will be combined with the judges’ votes (each one classed as 25 votes) and guest panel votes (each worth 20 votes).

Judging the competition from the start have been Wicked star Laura Pick, cruise-ship vocal captain Nathan Lodge and vocal coach Amelia Urukalo

Voting closes today at 7pm and the winner will be announced at 8pm. To vote, go to: https://www.facebook.com/.groups/.687590815139642/.permalink/.755696498329073/.