Pride in London’s official talent search competition is back in town to find new stars to perform at this year’s Pride celebrations in the capital on Saturday 7 July. And the team is on the lookout for entrants. Here, Pride in London Executive Producer, Ian Massa-Harris, explains more.
Hi Ian, how would you describe what Pride’s Got Talent is in general terms?
Pride’s Got Talent was conceived 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.
And the difference between the cabaret and music sides?
The competition has two branches: Pride’s Got Talent and Pride’s Got Talent Cabaret. With Pride’s Got Talent, the category is reserved exclusively for music acts, both solos and groups). The Pride’s Got Talent Cabaret category is reserved for non-popular music/dance, cabaret/alternative and presenting/hosting/novelty act. Both categories get treated the same in terms of heats, semi-finals and their own separate final.
What happens at the heats?
The heats are always with a live audience. It gives people a chance to get a flavour of the LGBT+ talent, follow contestants, discover new talent and enjoy a good night at their preferred venue. It also helps us to see how the act works the audience and the audience reaction. Each act is asked to perform a maximum of three numbers. The panel then chooses a certain number of acts to go through to the next round based on their performance.
Who do you get to judge?
The panel is made up of industry figures, scene figures and community figures. This ensures we always have diverse and balanced panels.
And what about the semis and two finals?
The process of the semis is the same, however here the stakes are higher as the applicants are competing for a place at the final so judging becomes more intense. After the semis we end up with 21 finalists who all have a guaranteed place on a stage at Pride in London. During the finals both sets of finalists are competing for the winning and runner up places, which will offer them other perks such as headline spots and prizes etc.
And at Pride itself?
As I said, all finalists will be allocated a place on a Pride in London stage together with associated stages. The winner of Pride’s Got Talent will support a main act on Trafalgar Square. The winner of Pride’s Got Talent Cabaret will headline on the Cabaret Stage together with – and this is a first for us – the Trafalgar Square as well!
Amazon Music is once again a sponsor, what does that mean to Pride’s Got Talent?
This is HUGE! It means the performers will have the support of Amazon Music as well potential key introductions to music/arts figures.
Last year there was some criticism of Pride in London not being diverse enough, can you talk about this and how you have addressed those comments in Pride’s Got Talent?
This year we have revisited our list of judges and participating venues. In order to reach areas of the community, which previously might have escaped us, we have teamed with key figures such as Sadie Sinner (Cocoa Butter Club), Rose Thorne (Cabaret vs Cancer) and Marnie Scarlett to name just a few. I have also appointed two Head Judges – Tom Knight and Mzz Kimberley – to ensure panel continuity, inclusivity and quality control for all the judges. The venues we have chosen this year we hope will bring a great diverse audience into the competition, and as I said previously, this year the winner of Pride’s Got Talent Cabaret will also get a spot on Trafalgar Square.
Any words of advice to those taking part?
Whatever your talent is, make sure you give 150% in your audition. The judges will forgive mistakes as long as you are 150% committed.