Olivier Award Winning Hairspray Actress, Leanne Jones, mentors Kent kids in performance skills

Olivier Award Winning Hairspray Actress, Leanne Jones, mentors Kent kids in performance skills

Leading Lady from Hairspray The Musical joins North Kent based youth performance project, Gifted Young Generation, as performance mentor

The creative training programme aims to support young people in performance and production skills, with an annual show at Woodville Theatre, Gravesend

Gifted Young Generation (GYG) celebrates it’s 10th birthday this year, with all profits from the annual show supporting mental health services for young people in Gravesham, North Kent

Interviews with Leanne Jones, and the GYG team and participants are possible, coverage of a performance workshop can be arranged

An Olivier Award winning, West End star is set to coach to young people in Gravesham, North Kent, during the coming months, in preparation for a show in November.

Leanne Jones, who played the lead role of Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray The Musical opposite Michael Ball, has joined the creative team of Gifted Young Generation as a singing and performance coach.

Gifted Young Generation, known as GYG, is a creative training and performance programme for young people aged 11- 19 years based in Gravesham, Kent. Young people audition, attend training and workshops by professionals and go on to perform in showcase finale at the Woodville Theatre. Singers from the show will attend weekly coaching sessions with Leanne in The Grand Healthy Living Centre in Gravesend.

Leanne, who has scooped a number of industry awards said, “I heard about GYG last year and knew immediately that I wanted to be involved. To see so many talented young people love to perform and working together to produce their own show is inspiring.

“I became hooked on musicals when I was 11 years old and am thrilled to be able to help other young performers achieve their dreams.”

Now in its 10th year, GYG has expanded to include opportunities for young people to take part in the stage production such as lighting and sound design, stage design and photography.

Organised by The Grand Healthy Living Centre’s youth team, GYG aims to provide positive experiences to young people, broaden horizons, introduce creative career opportunities and celebrate the talents of the borough’s younger residents.

Jackie Couper, Senior Youth Worker and co-founder of GYG said, “GYG has proven to be one of the most successful programmes we run. It has grown year on year, and we continually aim to include more opportunities for young people to learn new skills and of course have fun.

“I’m extremely proud that some of our past participants have gone on to have professional careers in the performing arts and music industry, but importantly GYG is about boosting confidence, fostering friendships and providing positive memories.”

People taking part in the production spend months preparing, rehearsing, planning, designing and fundraising. They have the opportunity to take part in dance and singing workshops, have educational visits to theatres, work with industry professionals.

The growth of the programme is thanks to funding received by local charity Kufflink Foundation, who are a keen supporter of opportunities for young people and have worked with The Grand for many years. GYG’s 10th Birthday showcase takes place on Friday 9 November at Woodville Theatre, Gravesend. Tickets go on sale soon.

Young people interested in getting involved should contact Jackie Coupar on 01474 320123 or email Stacey.manley@thegrand.org.uk to find out more.


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