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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

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BBC musical trainees to perform at the Proms

Talented young beneficiaries of the BBC Performing Arts Fund will perform at Prom 19 on Saturday 31st July.

The event, which is a special celebration of composer Stephen Sondheim's 80th birthday, will feature around half of the students who won a place on the the Training In Musical Theatre scheme – launched by the charity in 2007.

Many of the performers who will form the chorus at Prom 19 are currently working in the West End and have taken time out of their performance schedules to represent the Performing Arts Fund.

The soloists are Joseph Claus, Waylon Jacobs and Emma Odell.

After receiving a bursary from the charity, Joseph completed a one year PGDip Course in Musical Theatre at the Royal Academy of Music and has since performed with Sir Elton John at the Royal Albert Hall. He begins his first West End job in Phantom Of The Opera in September.

The Fund also provided a platform for Emma Odell who, after completing her training at the London School of Musical Theatre, has featured in many show, including Into The Woods, for which Sondheim wrote the music and lyrics. Emma will travel to Edinburgh this summer to star in the new musical Jump, directed by Patrick Wilde.

Waylon Jacobs has also featured in the West End, after spending three years at The Arts Educational School London. He has just returned from Dublin, where he featured as a soloist in the famous show Riverdance.

All three of these gifted individuals will be performing at Saturday's Prom, which will feature many numbers written by Stephen Sondheim.

Notes to Editors

The Fund, whose Trustees include Sir Paul McCartney and Alan Yentob, is a registered charity that supports the development of professional and amateur performers across the UK, offering mentoring, advice and financial assistance.

The charity is funded by members of the public phone voting on BBC One entertainment talent shows such as Over The Rainbow.

Since it began in 2003, the Fund has awarded over £3m in grants to professional musicians, musical theatre students, urban music entrepreneurs and choirs. The Fund has awarded nearly £650,000 to 162 individual musical theatre students to help them with their training costs. The average cost of training at a drama school in London is currently about £11,000 per year. Considering most are three year courses, the total amount due in tuition fees alone can make for an eye-watering figure, without the added cost of living in the country's capital city.

The Fund helps students who are exceptionally talented, but whose financial situation means that they cannot meet the cost of their fees. Without the help of the Fund these individuals would not be able to pursue their training or their careers in musical theatre.


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