The Young Actor of Mann Finals were held on Wednesday 19th April, an annual competition open to Isle of Man residents aged between 13 and 19 years. It is a brilliant chance for young actors on the island to showcase their talent.
The first round took place in February, judged by adjudicator Jennifer Scott-Reid. Here arose a great challenge for the adjudicator because of the immense talent in the competition this year as Scott-Reid wished to take eleven contestants through to the final, but was only allowed eight.
These eight finalists were as followed:
- Saoirse Coyle Carroll
- Andrew Halstein
- Robyn-Mae Lawler
- Joseph Long
- Faye Pendlebury
- Laeth Quellin
- Alexandra Slater
- Jack Smollen
The eight finalists performed at the Studio Theatre, Ballakermeen High school and were judged by adjudicator Robert Meadows who has also been adjudicating for the 2017 Easter Festival of Full Length plays. They were required to perform two contrasting pieces from published plays and musical theatre. In the final they must perform one piece from the adjudicator’s set texts and one of their pieces from the first round. There was a great mix of songs and play extracts which were all executed to a high standard. Pieces included songs from Stephen Sondheim’s musical ‘Into the Woods’ and monologues from Ella Hickson’s play ‘Eight’, this year’s set texts from the adjudicator. Meadows chose Hickson’s ‘Eight’ because “the characters she created are very contemporary which seemed appropriate” and he chose Sondheim’s ‘Into the Woods’ because Sondheim’s “lyrics and melodies do pose a challenge for musical theatre practitioners but always engage me [Meadows] when I hear his work performed successfully as was the case in the final.”
Meadows had the following to say about finals before he makes his final decision: “I was very impressed with the standard of work from all eight finalists. Making the decision as to who will win incredibly difficult.”
There is an extremely active and social drama world on the island and we are surrounded with many very talented young performers. The Isle of Man is thriving with triple threats, those who can act, sing and dance, and there was no exception in this year’s Young Actor of Mann competition. We are almost spoilt with the productions we have the pleasure to watch. The outstanding amateur shows performed at the Gaiety are alike to professional productions and the junior productions are also on par further highlighting the true, extraordinary talent we have on the Isle of Man.
Competitions, such as the Young Actor of Mann, can help young people to build their confidence and self-esteem, allow them to learn new things and perhaps to learn how to push out of their comfort zone. Ultimately, these competitions are important as they give young performers the chance to showcase their talent.
The winner’s prize is a bursary of the value of £500 to be used for fees towards attending a UK summer school/holiday workshop at a drama school of the winner’s choice. The winner of the Young Actor of Mann 2017 will be announced at the awards ceremony on Friday 21st April, at the Gaiety Theatre.
- Megan Rossiter, MADF Roving Reporter
The winner of the Young Actor of Mann 2017 was Alexandra Slater and the runner up was Joseph Long. We interviewed Alexandra following her win –