BBC Performing Arts Fund shares plans for the coming year

Tuesday 20 March 2012, 16:59

Miriam O'Keeffe Miriam O'Keeffe

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Earlier this week, the BBC Performing Arts Fund welcomed guests from across the arts world to Broadcasting House's shiny new media café to hear about our plans for the coming year. The Fund has been going now for 9 years, first as the Fame Academy Bursary, and is about to reach £4m in grants. So it felt right to stop and showcase some of the amazing talent that we have worked with along the way.

The evening started with some important announcements - the Fund will be awarding up to £450,000 in grants to the music sector this year. And Caroline Thomson, the BBC' Chief Operating Officer announced that the new BBC One entertainment show The Voice will be raising money for the charity through premium telephone voting lines.

Performers from the group Bruk Out

Performers from the group Bruk Out

The host for the evening Reggie Yates who will be presenting The Voice along with Holly Willoughby, welcomed a diverse range of acts onto the iconic Radio Theatre stage. First up were Bruk Out, a streetdance group from South London who received a grant from the Fund under the community dance scheme. We were treated to an amazing selection of hip hop and contemporary dance despite the performers being confined to a very small stage not usually set up for street dance!

They were followed by Cardboard Citizens a charity based in east London that uses the performing arts to change the lives of homeless and at risk people. The group worked with their youth theatre programme last summer to fund a music based around their shared stories and experiences, a small extract of which they shared with a rapt audience.

And then for something completely different. Kathryn Rudge, a mezzo soprano from Liverpool, treated us to a couple of arias. Kathryn, who received funding to support her through her studies at the Royal Northern College of Music, has just finished a tour with Opera North, playing Sesto in Guilio Cesare.

The Royal Academy of Music Musical Theatre Company

The Royal Academy of Music Musical Theatre Company

And finally the Royal Academy of Music's Musical Theatre Company finished the night off with a dazzling arrangement of BBC theme tunes. Many of the students have been supported through their studies by funding from the BBC Performing Arts Fund.

It was really difficult for me to pick four acts to reflected the spirit of what we do and we could easily have had 40 or even 400 from all our previous beneficiaries on stage. But I was so proud of everyone who volunteered and took part. And very excited to find out who will benefit this year from our music grants.

Miriam O'Keeffe is Director of the BBC Performing Arts Fund

About the BBC Editor Jon Jacob spoke BBC Performing Arts Fund Director Miriam O'Keeffe and Trustee Dorothy Wilson at the showcase event on Tuesday 20 March 2012 at Broadcasting House. Their thoughts and those of performers Bruk Out feature in the interview below.

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