Who’s going to be ‘The Next Big Thing?’

Monday 1 February 2016

Photograph of ‘The Next Big Thing?' awards

Manx charity Junior Achievement’s flagship event The Next Big Thing will be on Saturday February 20 when 15 young acts will go head to head in the live final of the under-18s talent contest at the Gaiety Theatre.

Now in its fifth year the competition, sponsored by Paragon Recruitment, Zurich International Life and Energy FM, offers young people between the age of 10 and 18 the opportunity to showcase their talents on the Gaiety Theatre stage to what is invariably a full house. In keeping with the Junior Achievement ethos, the show aims to help young people realise their potential.

Guest judge this year is singer/songwriter Jack Morlen who graduated from the Sylvia Young Theatre School in London. During his training, he was signed by independent record label Seymour Music to the pop group EverYoung who released their first single in the Isle of Man.

Appearing on numerous TV shows as well as grabbing an official chart position, extensive tours and recording was just the start of Jack’s career. During the past six months Jack has been busy touring the UK as a solo artist as well as working with a number of top writers and producers on some exciting new material.

The line-up will include bands, dancers, singers and musicians. Acts performing are Hilltop Hallucinations, The Game is On, Shanya Pickett, Amy Gravestock, Sarah Buss, Rebecca Valerie, Lois Mooney, Roch Mirski, Kaylee Kinley, Callum Brew, Tabitha Templer, Grace and Letisha, Rio and Kenzie, Fancy Feet and The Bollywood Crew.

There will also be a performance from The Next Big Thing 2015 returning winner, Jenny Hill, and a preview of this year’s production of Oklahoma by the Manx Operatic Society.

The winner of the title ‘The Next Big Thing 2016’ will take home a cash prize of £500 sponsored by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company. The second prize of £250 is sponsored by Manx Professional and Educational Services Ltd and third prize is £150, sponsored by Hartford Homes.

In addition, the People’s Choice Award, in memory of youth worker Paul Cooper who died in 2014 but who, as leader of the Soundcheck project, had been an influential figure in the Next Big Thing since its inception, will offer the audience the chance to vote for their favourite act. Each member of the audience will receive a complimentary programme and voting slip. The winner of the People’s Choice award will be announced via social media once votes have been counted.

Junior Achievement chief executive Sue Cook said: ‘The Next Big Thing has become a fantastic showcase for young talent in the Isle of Man, setting many of the artists on a path to develop their performing skills in new directions. The show’s a real community event, too, thanks to the tremendous support of our sponsors and the audience whose enthusiasm wills every one of the acts to do well. Having seen all the finalists in action, the stage is set for a great night’s entertainment.’

The Next Big Thing Grand Final is on Saturday February 20 at 7.30 (Doors open 7pm).

For more information visit the Villa Marina website www.villagaiety.com