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/.

“Lucky 13” picked for second round of Yorkshire’s Got Talent for JoRo’s roof appeal

Sam Rippon: One of the “lucky 13” to make it through to the next round of the Yorkshire’s Got Talent virtual contest

THE Yorkshire’s Got Talent virtual contest, in York, enters its second phase with 13 contestants still standing.

The online competition was launched last month to provide funds for the Joseph Rowntree Theatre’s £90,000 Raise The Roof appeal.

From dozens of entries, the ten acts that collected the most votes proceeded straight through to the next round. The following day, three more acts were “saved”, as each of the three judges picked a wildcard entry.

Hannah Wakelam: Organiser of Yorkshire Got’s Talent

Entries closed at midnight last Saturday, whereupon organiser Hannah Wakelam, 19,  announced the results live on Facebook on Sunday evening. The ten acts going through, in no particular order, are Sam Rippon; Richard Bayton; Flo Taylor; Jess Baxter; Harvey Stevens; Florence Poskitt & Adam Sowter, Nancy Mae and Ayda Mooney; Daisy Winbolt -Robertson; Roxy Hurst and Evan Watkinson.

Taking the total to 13, lucky for them, were the wildcards chosen by judges Nathan Lodge, Amelia Urukalo and Wicked star Laura Pick. Nathan saved Ed Atkin, Amelia rescued Abbi Watkinson and Laura’s pick was Jordan Wright.

Graham Mitchell, the Jo Ro’s events and fundraising director, says: “We’ve entered a really exciting part of the contest as each week from now on the finalists will have to fight to keep their places.

Wright choice: Laura Pick picked Jordan Wright as her wildcard choice

“Whereas when the acts first entered, it was up to them what they submitted, from now on we’ll be giving them a theme to work with.  The first theme is Disney, so we’re looking forward to seeing what our performers choose to come up with.”

The latest round will close on August 19, when it will be up to the judges to decide who progresses.

Dan Shrimpton, the JoRo charity’s chair of trustees, says: “We recognise many of the acts as they’ve already performed on our stage.  What makes this competition exciting to us as a hub for community theatre across the whole of the Yorkshire region is that we’ve seen interest from farther afield than York city centre and also from a wide range of different types of acts.”

The logo for Yorkshire’s Got Talent

The talent contest is the latest in a series of fundraising events for the Haxby Road theatre, in the wake of an online fitness video, a small yard sale, the ongoing sale of Barbara Boyce-designed face masks and the Up On The Roof virtual video, filmed at the beginning of lockdown.

To launch the Raise The Roof campaign, the JoRo has set up a Just Giving page, encouraging donations of “even just the amount of a takeaway coffee” at justgiving.com/campaign/Raise-the-Roof.

Yorkshire’s Got Talent contest video entry deadline extended by a week for Joseph Rowntree Theatre roof appeal fundraiser

“We don’t want anyone to miss out on the chance of becoming a finalist in Yorkshire’s Got Talent,” says organiser Hannah Wakelam

THE deadline for performers to upload video entries for the Joseph Rowntree Theatre’s online contest, Yorkshire’s Got Talent, is being extended by a week.

Organiser Hannah Wakelam and the judges, Wicked star Laura Pick, cruise-ship vocal captain Nathan Lodge and vocal coach Amelia Urukalo, have set a new cut-off point of midnight on August 8.

Hannah has set up the virtual competition as a fundraiser for the JoRo’s £90,000 Raise The Roof appeal.

“We still have lots of entries coming in, as word of the contest reaches further afield,” says the 19-year-old York performer. “We don’t want anyone to miss out on the chance of becoming a finalist in Yorkshire’s Got Talent, and so the judges and I are extending the entry deadline to next weekend.

“All types of performers are encouraged to enter and to show off what they can do, whether it’s singing, dancing, playing a musical instrument, performing a circus act, the list is endless.”

The cost of entry is a minimum donation of £5 to the Raise the Roof appeal for the Art Deco building, in Haxby Road, and no age restrictions apply.

To comply with lockdown rules, entrants are asked to submit a short video of themselves performing their acts. The contest winner will receive £100.

Full rules and details of how to enter can be found at:

Facebook:  facebook.com/groups/687590815139642/about

Instagram: instagram.com/yorkshiresgottalent/

Graham Mitchell, the JoRo’s events and fundraising director, says: “There’s a real buzz around this contest now. Having a West End star [Laura Pick] among our judging panel has certainly got people talking and we are seeing a rush of last-minute entries.  By extending the deadline, we’ll be able to accommodate more acts at the same time as raising more money for our fundraising appeal.”

The online contest is the latest in a string of fundraisers for the Rowntree Theatre’s  roof appeal, following on from a virtual video, a Zoom fitness class and the ongoing sale of jazzy face masks made by theatre volunteer Barbara Boyce.

To launch 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  justgiving.com/campaign/Raise-the-Roof.

Yorkshire’s Got Talent finale could take place on Rowntree Theatre stage if….

The Joseph Rowntree Theatre building, bathed in “emergency red” when taking part in the #LightItInRed campaign for urgent support for the theatre industry on Monday night

PLANS are afoot for the climax of the Yorkshire’s Got Talent contest to be held at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, rather than online.

The Haxby Road theatre has announced it will “hand over the stage to the contest once it is able to re-open and  many performers who will have taken part “virtually” can take centre stage in front of a live audience”.

No date has been set for such a finale, against the background of no easing of the Government’s lockdown strictures on theatres, all having been cast into darkness since mid-March.

Yorkshire’s Got Talent is being run by York teenager Hannah Wakelam, a regular musical theatre performer at the JoRo, in aid of the Art Deco building’s £90,000 Raise the Roof appeal for roof repairs.

Hannah, 19, has signed up three VIP guests to judge the event: Wicked star Laura Pick, from Wakefield, West End regular and cruise ship vocal captain Nathan Lodge, from York, and Ripon vocal coach Amelia Urukalo.

Yorkshire’s Got Talent judge Laura Pick in her West End role as Elphaba in Wicked

Entries are open from now until August 1 for a contest with a £100 prize. “All types of performers are encouraged to enter and to show off what they can do,” says Hannah.

“Whether it’s singing, dancing, playing a musical instrument, performing a circus act, the list is endless.”

The cost of entries is a minimum donation of £5 to the Raise the Roof appeal and no age restrictions apply. “Because of lockdown rules, entrants will be asked to submit a short video of themselves performing their acts,” says Hannah. “The winner will receive £100 and their online performances will be seen right across the Yorkshire area.”

Hannah is hoping that, schedules permitting, the three VIP judges, will be able to attend the climax to her county-wide contest at the JoRo.  

Laura Pick was playing Elphaba in Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre in the West End until the Covid-19 lockdown. Nathan Lodge, no stranger to the Joseph Rowntree Theatre, has many West End credits, complemented by his career as a vocal captain on cruise ships. Vocal coach Amelia Urukal has experience aplenty in judging talent competitions and runs the Upstage Academy performing arts studio in Ripon.

Yorkshire’s Got Talent contest organiser Hannah Wakelam

Determined to help the JoRo, Hannah says: “It’s because of my experience on stage at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre that I’m following my dream to be a professional performer. 

“I honestly wouldn’t be where I am now without this community venue and all it does for young talent.  This contest is just my way of saying ‘thank you’ and I’d love other young performers to learn about the opportunities they can find here.”

Hannah is running a raffle alongside the talent contest and is urging businesses or individuals to consider donating prizes.  “All donors will be credited in our publicity,” she says. “The theatre has kicked off the appeal for donations by offering theatre tokens and a framed print of the Art Deco building by artist Elliot Harrison.”

To launch the Raise The Roof campaign, the JoRo has set up a Just Giving page and is encouraging people to “donate even just the amount of a takeaway coffee”.  To do so, go to justgiving.com/campaign/Raise-the-Roof.

Full rules and details of how to enter Yorkshire’s Got Talent can be found here:

Facebook: facebook.com/groups/687590815139642/about

Instagram: instagram.com/yorkshiresgottalent/.

Would you want to be judged by the evil eye of Wicked’s Elphaba? Here’s your chance in the Yorkshire’s Got Talent contest

Yorkshire’s Got Talent judging panellist Laura Pick in her West End role as Elphaba in Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre, London. Who will Laura pick to win with her fellow judges?

YORK teenage musical theatre performer Hannah Wakelam is launching the Yorkshire’s Got Talent Virtual Contest to boost the Joseph Rowntree Theatre’s Raise The Roof campaign, with Wicked’s Elphaba among the judges.

Hannah, 19, who has appeared many times on the JoRo stage, has signed up three VIP guests to judge the event: Wicked star Laura Pick, West End regular and cruise ship vocal captain Nathan Lodge and Ripon vocal coach Amelia Urukalo.

Entries are open from now until August 1 for a contest with a £100 prize. “All types of performers are encouraged to enter and to show off what they can do,” says Hannah. “Whether it’s singing, dancing, playing a musical instrument, performing a circus act, the list is endless.”

The cost of entries is a minimum donation of £5 to the Raise The Roof appeal and no age restrictions apply. “Because of lockdown rules, entrants will be asked to submit a short video of themselves performing their acts,” says Hannah. “The winner will receive £100 and their online performances will be seen right across the Yorkshire area.”

Hannah Wakelam: Yorkshire’s Got Talent Virtual Contest organiser and Raise The Roof fundraiser

The Haxby Road theatre needs to find £90,000 to go towards roof repairs to the Art Deco building to ensure the JoRo will be around for future generations of Yorkshire performers.

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’ve 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.”

Heading up the panel is Laura Pick, from Wakefield, who was flying high as Elphaba in Wicked in the West End until the Covid-19 lockdown stopped her Defying Gravity.

Yorkshire’s Got Talent judge Amelia Urukalo

Fellow judge Nathan Lodge, originally from York and no stranger to the Joseph Rowntree Theatre, has many West End credits, complemented by his career as a vocal captain on cruise ships. 

The third judge, vocal coach Amelia Urukalo, has experience aplenty in judging talent competitions and runs the Upstage Academy performing arts studio in Ripon.

The Yorkshire area is teeming with performing talent, not least on the Rowntree Theatre stage: a training ground and launchpad for many professional acting careers, such as Harry Potter and Broadchurch actor David Bradley, Emmerdale and Casualty actor Ian Kelsey and West End musical theatre performer Scott Garnham.

Nathan says: “I really believe that the industry is full of exceptionally talented people who started out in Yorkshire and I can’t wait to see what the future of talent from home looks like.”

“I can’t wait to see what the future of talent from home looks like,” says Yorkshire’s Got Talent judge Nathan Lodge, who took his early theatrical steps at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre

The JoRo 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 raised almost £300 for the campaign.

The total stands at £2,673, more than half of the £5,000 target for this early stage of the overall £90,000 appeal. Almost 100 people have donated so far, testament to the campaign gathering momentum.

Dan Shrimpton, chair of trustees of the Joseph Rowntree Theatre 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 that 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.”

The auditorium at the Art Deco-designed Joseph Rowntree Theatre, in Haxby Road, York

To launch the Raise The Roof campaign, the JoRo has set up a Just Giving page and is encouraging people to “donate even just the amount of a takeaway coffee”.  To do so, go to justgiving.com/campaign/Raise-the-Roof.

Full rules and details of how to enter Yorkshire’s Got Talent can be found here: Facebook: facebook.com/groups/687590815139642/about; Instagram: instagram.com/yorkshiresgottalent/.

The judges will select a final ten from the entries and the contest will progress from there through a process of elimination until the winner is declared.