A brand new modern day arts academy to develop and nurture young talent from around the Ribble Valley is being launched.
Local singer songwriter and Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalist Ella Shaw is master-minding the project.
Ella Shaw’s Academy of Arts will take place at The Grand Venue in Clitheroe every Saturday from 10am to 1pm.
It will offer a high level of coaching and guidance in music, dance and drama for young people aged 10 to 18, with master classes and tutoring from industry professionals.
Ella, who lives with her family in Langho, started her career at The Grand after taking part in the GRAB talent contest more than five years ago.
She subsequently went on to wow judges on Britain’s Got Talent with her self penned song Summertime, perform to sell out shows – including headlining Young Voices at the Manchester Arena to an audience of 21,000 – and much more.
Working alongside The Grand, open/enrolment days for Ella’s academy will be held at the venue on Saturday, November 4th, and Saturday, December 9th, from 10am until noon.
During these days term fees will be offered at a discounted price and hoodies with the Ella Shaw’s Academy of Arts logo on will be available to buy before the term begins on January 13th.
Aside from the Saturday sessions, Ella Shaw’s Academy of Arts is also partnering with The Foundation For Ribble Valley Families and The Sally Hickling Trust to use music and the arts to support the mental well-being of local young people.
“Mental health affects many more young people than you probably realise and national studies suggest that in the UK, about one in 10 of all young people may experience a mental health problem,” said Ella, who suffered with alopecia as a youngster and was bullied because of her hair loss.
“Being mentally healthy is also about having the strength to overcome the difficulties and challenges we can all face at times in our lives – to have confidence and self esteem, to be able to take decisions and to believe in ourselves.”
And through her academy Ella, a former St Augustine’s RC High School pupil, aims to provide young people with the guidance they need.
It is also hoped that X Factor hopeful Grace Davies, who is also from Langho, will support the new academy.
“It’s so amazing to see another young person following their dreams and doing so well,” said Ella.
“I’ve been friends with Grace for a few years and we’ve always both supported each other, sometimes crossing paths in various local competitions including GRAB.
“I wish Grace all the best in the X Factor and hope to have her as a guest speaker/performer at my academy in the new year.”
Steven Lancaster, executive director of The Grand, said: “We are delighted to be working with Ella on her new arts academy here at The Grand. Our aspiration is to support local young people and we are excited about Ella and her team helping to nurture the next generation of emerging talent.
“Ella performed at GRAB many years ago, so it’s great to continue the journey with her.”
GRAB is the local inter schools talent competition that The Grand hosts on an annual basis, and after a year off, it is set to return in January.
Both Ella Shaw and Grace Davies have since performed many times on The Grand stage, while also recording at The Grand’s recording studio.
“We’d also like to congratulate Grace following her success on the X Factor and wish her all the best in the next round,” added Steven.