Pride’s Got Talent is the all inclusive talent contest organised by the Pride in London team that is back for its sixth year from next week. The contest is designed to support and encourage performers in both music and cabaret and features heats and finals in both areas. Dave Cross had a catch up with Pride Deputy Director of Events Ian Massa Harris to find out more.
Hi Ian, can you sum up what Pride’s Got Talent is all about?
I am so excited for Pride’s Got Talent this year. PGT is a talent competition which allows for acts to compete for places on the Pride in London stages together with prizes that will aid them in their artistic career.
In the past these have included studio sessions, coaching, cabaret residencies and more.
There are two different sets of heats and finals this year?
Yes – we split the competition into two. Pride’s Got Talent is reserved for popular music acts, both solo and groups, and Pride’s Got Talent Cabaret is there to accommodate our community’s cabaret acts from drag, mime and everything else. Each of the strands has a number of heats, two semi-finals and one grand final.
What kind of acts can enter?
Any act can enter – we love it all. The requirements are, acts who are new and emerging talent, acts without major representation and non celebrity talent.
How did the contest come about?
Pride’s Got Talent was conceived by myself in 2014 to ensure the existing pool of talent in the LGBT+ community were given a fair chance to take part in Pride in London and were exposed to industry recognised judges to aid them in their artistic career. The rationale is that everyone, irrespective of gender, gender history, sexuality, disability or ethnicity is encouraged to enter the competition. This ensures that there is transparency and diversity when it comes to the Pride’s Got Talent performers on the Pride stage.
How do the heats work for both music and cabaret?
All heats, semis and finals are compered by the cabaret legend that is Michael Twaits. Together with the Pride’s Got Talent production team, they ensure a good experience for every act. All entries are given the opportunity to perform in front of an industry-recognised panel. The panel will also include community representatives who are mindful of encouraging diverse talent. These auditions are held in LGBT+ venues across London and have live audiences. This gives us a good opportunity to see how they work the crowd.
And at the semi finals and grand finals?
The selected acts proceed to a semi-final and finally, if successful they go to a grand final which is held in a London theatre. Here the selected acts spend a day getting coaching for their final performance, they rehearse and we form a show for each of the categories. The finals are in my opinion more important than winning as acts can showcase their talent in front of agents, bookers and LGBT+ influencers.
What do the winners get?
All finalists end up on a stage at Pride in London on the day. The winning acts will be given slots to support celebrity talent in Trafalgar Square. There are lots of other prizes given by our sponsor and supporters, but I can’t tell you much more at the moment.
How do people enter and what advice would you give them?
Acts wanting to enter should apply through the Pride in London website, the closing date is the 1 March. My advice to anyone wanting to enter is; just go for it! You may be new to performing or extremely experienced, but we love it all and love working with ALL LGBT+ talent! See you at the heats.