Search for young Norfolk stars to make their debut

2013 Norfolk Arts Awards winner Lily-Ann Reeve performs with Lee Vasey.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

2013 Norfolk Arts Awards winner Lily-Ann Reeve performs with Lee Vasey.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: Archant Norfolk

The search is on to find some talented young musicians, poets and writers to star in a new showcase event at this year's Hostry Festival.

Debut, which organisers are describing as 'the antidote to the X Factor,' is the latest new addition to the annual arts extravaganza held each autumn at Norwich Cathedral's Hostry.

With no judges and no winners or losers, the event aims to be purely a celebration of the creative voice of young people from Norfolk aged 13 to 19.

Now a campaign has begun to find 12 as yet undiscovered talented young people to take to the Debut stage.

In particular the project is looking for keen singer/songwriters, and writers and performers of any form of creative writing, including monologues, poetry, short stories, lyrics and more.

The find the young performers for the showcase, organisers are asking heads of schools and youth groups to put forward individuals who they believe show real promise and star quality.

Melanie Kidd, a youth projects coordinator from Writers' Centre Norwich who will manage the project and co-host the event, said: 'I am interested in originality and authenticity, where inspiration comes from life experience.

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'There is a combined understanding of the necessity for creative writing provision, in all forms. We will be looking for young people who write, compose and create their own writing and lyrics and provide support in their artistic development.'

Future Radio presenter Richard Penguin, who will also co-host Debut, said: 'Norwich has a history of producing a wealth of creative and talented artists, musicians, poets and writers. What they all have in common is that they need encouragement to make that first public appearance, and a platform in which to do so. I believe Debut will offer many young people their first opportunity to do so as part of a prestigious festival taking their work onto another level.'

Hostry Festival director Stash Kirkbride said that Debut was a project he had wanted to introduce into the festival for some time.

He said: 'Our aim is to create an atmosphere where new talent can be seen in a supportive and non-judgmental way. This project is all about 'the taking part'; a unique opportunity for young people to be seen, heard and understood.'

The 12 young people selected to be part of Debut will also benefit from having professional mentors to support their talent and development.

Debut is just one way the Hostry Festival champions young people in the arts. Each year at the Hostry Festival's Norfolk Arts Awards the Peter Barrow Bursary Award for Best Newcomer is presented to a rising star of the arts scene. Last year this prize was awarded to young musician Lily-Ann Reeve who had been spotted by Norfolk Arts Awards judges performing Someone Like You by Adele with Lee Vasey at the Surlingham Ferry.

• Debut, a satellite Hostry Festival event, will take place on Saturday, October 25 at the Platform Theatre, City College Norwich. Tickets will cost £7 (£5 concessions) and be available from the Hostry Festival box office from July 14.

• If you work in a school, college or youth club and would like to find out more about the project contact Melanie Kidd at

The deadline to nominate a young person is June 16.

• For more on the Hostry Festival visit

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