Extra audition dates announced by TV star Russell

Extra audition dates have been announced for Strictly Come Dancing star Russell Grant’s upcoming showbiz spectacular.

The well-known TV personality is searching for budding divas to take part in his latest production with Coleg Harlech.

The concept of the show, Strictly Divas, is not only to uncover new talent but also to offer potentially life changing opportunities for young people who are not in work, education or training.

Russell is once again urging people to come along and audition for the glitzy production which is set in 1960s New York and revolves around five of the most famous musical divas including Edna Turnblad from Hairspray and Dolly Levi from Hello Dolly.

Speaking from the West End in his starring role in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘The Wizard of Oz’ at The London Palladium, Russell said: “I want people to enjoy all aspects of theatre on stage, back stage and front of house regardless of experience. Experience not necessary, but enthusiasm is a must.”

“We will cover all areas of musical theatre, if you want to come along and have a go you’ll get a warm welcome.”

Strictly Divas is a Coleg Harlech Performing Arts School production which has been funded with help from a joint initiative by the Welsh Government, ESF and the Arts Council for Wales via a project known as Reach the Heights.

Reach The Heights aims to reduce the number of young people in Wales who are not in education, employment or training (referred to as NEET) or are at risk of becoming so. The project has helped more than 5,000 young people to date and it is hoped that Strictly Divas, which follows on from the hugely successful musical production of Bliss last year, will help many others.

Carys Wigglesworth, development worker for short courses at Coleg Harlech, is part of the Strictly Divas production team.

She said: “Strictly Divas is all about creating performing arts opportunities for young people in north Wales and giving them a chance to gain new personal and practical skills.

“All of our young performers who complete the production will receive a certificate which will be useful for a CV or when applying for other courses.

“The idea is not only for them to have fun and enjoy themselves but to be able to take something away from the production which will help them in the future.”

The new audition dates are May 17 from 3-8 pm and May 19 from 10-12 pm. On May 17, there will also be a free theatrical lighting workshop, run by Dr Chris Hughes, taking place from 10 – 3pm with anyone welcome to attend. Dr Hughes will be sharing his knowledge on how light can be used to define feelings and emotion. On May 18th there is a theatrical sound workshop given by Olli Bentley of Leeds University who has worked on previous productions at the theatre.

The actual performances of Strictly Divas will be at the end of August.

Russell, who started his career as an actor, said: “People shouldn’t feel worried about auditioning. The auditions are very cosy and relaxed and I like to make time to chat to everybody because they have taken the time to come to the audition.”

Russell said he believes everybody has a natural creative ability to perform, something he was able to demonstrate throughout BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing at the end of last year.

He said: “I would love to share some of my wonderful experiences with other people and help them realise their true performing potential – and that is my motivation for creating and directing Strictly Divas.”

For more information about the auditions call 01766 780363 or email c.williams@fc.harlech.ac.uk
There is also a Facebook page dedicated to the production – Coleg Harlech Strictly Divas
To find out more about Coleg Harlech go to www.harlech.ac.uk

Photograph: Russell Grant is pictured with youngsters during rehearsals for the hugely successful Bliss production last year