Pride’s Got Talent is the exciting talent contest organised by and for Pride In London. All kinds of performers are welcome to enter this all-inclusive competition where they can receive advice and mentoring from industry experts plus the chance to perform on the Pride stages. Dave Cross spoke to Executive Producer at Pride In London, Ian Massa-Harris-McFeely, to find out more.
Hi Ian, how would you describe Pride’s Got Talent?
It’s a competition and mentoring scheme for the LGBT+ community. It’s a great way of showcasing and giving a performance platform to the vast amount of talent that there is out there, with professional advice and help.
How did the contest come about?
Pride’s Got Talent was started in 2014 to make sure that performers in the community were given a fair chance to take part in Pride In London.
How is it different from other scene talent contests such as Drag Idol?
Drag Idol is brilliant at finding stars for the gay cabaret circuit. We’re looking for talent that can represent the scene in the mainstream as well. Also our judges can help open potential future work opportunities in various fields for the performers.
Which kind of acts can enter?
The competition is open to everyone including new and emerging talent, people without major representation and non-celebrity talent. Any kind of act can enter, from singers to mime, drag to live bands, stand up comedy or burlesque. The competition is split into two categories: Pride’s Got Talent is exclusively for popular music acts; Pride’s Got Talent Cabaret is for music/dance, cabaret/alternative, comedy, presenters, hosts and novelty acts.
Explain how the heats work.
There are three stages – the heats, semi-finals and finals – which are all hosted by cabaret performer Michael Twaits plus there’s Sinitta, the godmother of Pride’s Got Talent. There will be heats at the Two Brewers, Counter, Ku Bar, Admiral Duncan, Muse, Halfway II Heaven, Her Upstairs, Old Ship, George and Dragon and The Glory. Each act is asked to perform a maximum of three numbers in front of an industry-recognised panel of judges and community reps mindful of encouraging diverse talent.
And they choose people to go forward to the semi-finals?
Yes, and the semi finals are at the RVT, Phoenix Artist Club and Two Brewers. The acts perform again for judges and up to 12 each for Prides Got Talent finalists and Pride’s Got Talent Cabaret finalists will be chosen, and all those will get to perform at some point at Pride In London on one of the stages. All finalists will get offered performance and act mentoring ahead of the Final too.
What can you tell us about the Final?
There are actually two finals. They both happen in June at the Charing Cross Theatre in front of the live audience and the industry panel. At each final a winner and a runner up is announced.
What do the winners get?
Prizes include performing on a Pride In London stage and associated yearly events plus prize packages offered by partners such as Musicians Union, GT, Phoenix Artist Club, UniLad and many more. Stages at Pride In London include Trafalgar Square, Women’s Stage, Cabaret Stage, Family Stage and Sunday Pride Event.
How do you choose the judges for various stages of the contest?
Judges are chosen to represent the community and they are also key players in their industry fields. These judge are often looking for acts to work with, hence the performers get an automatic exposure platform. We will announce this year’s judges very soon.
What would you say to someone who is thinking of entering?
I’d say go for it, enjoy it and give it 100% – you might be surprised how far your talent will take you. If you want to watch last year’s Final, visit https://youtu.be/ids8-hfJEGU.
Finally, how can readers enter the contest?
Just go to our website prideinlondon.org. Applications close on 1 March.