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Michael Fletcher from ITV's SUPERSTAR Joins DEPARTURE LOUNGE at Edinburgh Fringe, Aug 8-19

Michael Fletcher joins the cast of InSTEP Theatre's award-winning production of Departure Lounge direct from ITV's Superstar.

Liverpool based actor Michael Fletcher beat thousands of hopefuls including established West End performers to gain a place in the final 20 for ITV's Superstar; a nationwide search to find an actor to play Jesus in a UK wide arena tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber's hit musical Jesus Christ Superstar.

Michael first auditioned for the show in February, which saw him personally selected by casting director David Grindrod. He then went through several rounds including a "Superstar Island boot camp" with judges Mel C and Jason Donovan, a trip to sing personally for Andrew Lloyd Webber at his holiday home in Mallorca (the very place Departure Lounge is set) and again in London following a 25 hour tour bus journey across Europe. Despite extremely positive comments from the judges and Andrew Lloyd Webber Michael did not make the final 10 and the live televised finals. He comments, "I never imagined I would have got so far in the competition and I am delighted at the comments I received, the lessons I learnt on the show will last me throughout my professional career."

He is extremely positive about his experience on the show and is delighted that he is able to join the rest of the cast for Dougal Irvine's award winning musical Departure Lounge this summer in Edinburgh. Michael is to graduate from the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA) later this month.

Joining Michael and the rest of the cast is former talent search star Hayley Hampson (previously Clarke) who made the live finals of ITV's last search for a musical theatre star Grease is the Word! The show culminated in the coveted role of Sandy being played by Susan McFadden.

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InSTEP Theatre was set up in Liverpool in the autumn of 2010 by a group of students studying at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts. The company shares a passion for the development of new musical theatre and created InSTEP to give such work a platform in the North West.

Departure Lounge is directed by Sally Rapier, musical direction by Richard Reeday. Designed by Roberta McKeown, The cast includes: Glenn Adamson, Jamie Barnard, Michael Fletcher, Joshua Meredith and Hayley Hampson. The Production is produced by Laura Trapp and Christian Joel Butterworth for InSTEP Theatre.

Dougal Irvine (writer) is currently Composer-in-Residence at Royal and Derngate, Northampton under the Cameron Mackintosh/Mercury Musicals resident composer scheme. Dougal studied Psychology at the University of Birmingham before training as an actor at Mountview. Theatre credits include; Mark in Rent (Prince of Wales,) Manjiro in Pacific Overtures (Leicester Haymarket) and Wicked (Apollo Victoria.) He trained in playwriting at the Royal Court. Dougal was bookwriter/lyricist/composer for In Touch (Bridewell Theatre,) and lyricist/arranger for Britain's Got Bhangra (Stratford East/Watford Palace/Rifco Arts). Other composer credits include; The Bacchae and Blood Wedding (Royal and Derngate,) The Merchant of Venice, The Merry Wives of Windsor and The Comedy of Errors (Hazlitt Theatre). Songs by Dougal have featured at three Whatsonstage.com award concerts. His debut album Acoustic Overtures was released in 2011.

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