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UKGRAD2020 Launch Virtual Fringe Festival

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UKGRAD2020 Launch Virtual Fringe Festival

A musical theatre festival has launched to give graduates the chance to perform and direct for some of the most renowned names in the business to gain vital experience to help them get into the industry.

The virtual UKGRAD2020 Fringe Festival, which begins on Monday 29th June for two weeks, will see graduates put on plays, lead dance classes and get involved in online Q&As sessions with West End directors and performers.

Some of those hosting Q&A sessions include Alice Fearn, who played the role of Elphaba in Wicked on the West End, as well as double Olivier Award nominated choreographer Andrew Wright, who won a What's On Stage award for best choreography for the West End revival of Half a Sixpence.

A cabaret event will also celebrate black artists and writers with black graduates performing their favourite songs and writing to help raise money for charities in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement. Danielle Fiamanya, The Stage Debut award winner for best Actress in a Musical 2019, is set to host the event.

Michael Harris, managing director at Apollo Artist Management will also host a Q&A to provide graduates with advice on getting an agent.

Representatives from 20 of the leading drama schools, including those in the Alliance of musical theatre conservatoires such as Arts Ed, GSA and Mountview, are also on board to help students learn how to get into the industry.

Liam Gartland, who graduates this year from Guildford School of Acting, set up UKGRAD2020 with help from Arts Ed graduate Alice Croft to give budding artists the opportunity to learn from some of the most renowned names in musical theatre.

"I wanted to create a space for graduates to network and to give them opportunities to enjoy experiences, like directing or teaching their own class, that they may never had the chance to do before," said Gartland.

"It is a chance for them to get advice from all areas of the industry, from leading performers, casting directors and agents, especially as the current pandemic means that graduates are struggling to get exposure at a crucial stage of their career."

Croft, who is UKGRAD2020's artistic director, will also oversee a selection of plays which will have rehearsed readings and live virtual performances. Stage Management graduates will also design sets and costumes to show what they could have looked like had they been performed live in a venue.

Graduates will also perform in other live cabarets, singing up to four of their favourite musical theatre songs.

All of the sessions and performances will be held on Instagram Live and Zoom and later uploaded to all of the UKGRAD2020 pages.

To be a part of the festival, head over GradFringeFestival on Instagram, GradFringeFest on Twitter or email gradfringefestival@hotmail.com.


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