For the graduates of 2020, the normal round of parties, proms and celebrations have all been put on hold. What’s more concerning is the uncertainty surrounding their futures and the financial pressure on families through the pandemic.

For the last five years, a Carlisle based theatre school that is part of a Dragons’ Den backed network has been offering scholarships to students who are continuing their performing arts training at college, to assist with some of the cost implications that their courses will incur. While every business has felt financial pressure, Razzamataz Theatre Schools were absolutely adamant that they would press ahead with their Future Fund auditions and continue to provide grants for the graduates of 2020.

“This year of students have already lost so much but as a network, we were determined that one of those things wouldn’t be the chance to audition in front of an experienced panel of industry judges to be awarded a scholarship to help towards the cost of their course,” says Debbie Mitchell, Principal of Razzamataz Carlisle. “We set up the Future Fund scholarship to support students achieve their professional dreams of working in the performing arts industry. We know that many families have incurred financial difficulty during COVID-19 so we are really pleased to be able to help out a little.”

For the first time ever, the auditions were held over Zoom, a new skill that students had to master. They were asked to perform a song, dance and drama piece in either musical theatre or commercial style, which reflects the curriculum that Razzamataz offers.

This year’s judges were Shekinah McFarlane, currently starring in SIX the Musical as Anne of Cleves. Previous credits include, Lion King, American Idiot, Tommy, Hair, Parade and RENT. The second judge was Andrew Wright, two-time Olivier Award nominee, West End Choreographer and Director and one of the biggest names in West End creative teams.

The standard of this year’s entries was again very high but after much deliberation, the first prize of £3,000 was awarded to Lewis Logie, age 18 from Razzamataz Carlisle who has been offered a place at Northen School of Contemporary Dance in Leeds.

The judges were impressed by his focus and well-prepared audition, which is very important in this competitive industry. Feedback included ‘really positive audition full of great potential. You are someone to keep our eye out for. I hope you don’t stop – continue to grow’.

The Future Fund is just one of the many opportunities that Razzamataz students can take advantage of. Being part of a network of performing arts professionals has allowed students to take part in many workshops run by industry professionals as well as amazing performing opportunities at Her Majesty’s Theatre in the West End, Disneyland Paris and the 02 in London. Kerry Ellis, a leading lady on Broadway and the West End has also worked with students before and is delighted with the support that the Future Fund charity provides.

“I love Razzamataz and If there had been something like this around when I was younger, I would have been beside myself,” says Kerry. “I was lucky enough to get to work with some of the young inspiring students and their enthusiasm and passion they had was mind-blowing. Having scholarships to support and help young people find a way into performing is a very special and invaluable opportunity and I can’t wait to see what the future brings for them.”

While schools remain closed for the summer period, Razzamataz Carlisle are offering small, interactive online classes as well as lots of free activities to engage children via social media. Plans are being made for this year’s Summer School and the entire network is preparing for their COVID-Secure reopening, which includes meeting all safety standards as set out by the Head Office.

To find out more about joining the Razzamataz Carlisle community, either the online classes or the school when it is safe to reopen, please contact