Open call for audition entries from 16th May at sky.com/arts.

This April, Sky Arts will launch a nationwide search for Britain’s best amateur theatre groups, for a new series to be broadcast in 2012. Stagestruck (working title) will offer one amateur theatre group an unprecedented opportunity to work with a host of luminaries and industry professionals from stage and screen, to realise their ultimate dream and win the chance to perform on a West End Stage.

Amateur theatre is alive and flourishing across the UK like never before. There are more than 2500 amateur theatre groups in the UK, putting on nearly 30,000 productions a year, attracting over 8 million people to their audiences and making around £40 million in box office income. Stagestruck seeks to explore the stories, commitment and passion of the world of amateur theatre.

To enter the search, society’s members are encouraged to upload an audition video to sky.com/arts of their group performing a short extract from a list of plays and productions which have been preselected by Sky Arts. Entries will open on 16 May and the deadline is midnight 25th July 2011. The auditions will be based on society members acting prowess and their ability to approach the chosen work in an innovative and refreshing way.

The list of audition pieces will be available on the sky.com/arts website and will include a host of passages for the groups to choose from including a number of Shakespeare pieces, Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, Chekhov’s The Seagull and Oliver Goldsmith’s She Stoops To Conquer. The full list will be available from May 16.

Sky Arts will work closely with the Little Theatre Guild and the National Operatic and Dramatic Association and other society bodies, to reach out to groups for the auditioning process.

***Full details on how to enter will be available at sky.com/arts

The series is being produced for Sky Arts by the multi-Bafta award winning Oxford Film and Television who will follow the members of eight shortlisted societies as they prepare scenes from well-known plays for the Stagestruck judging panel, and mentored by industry experts from stage and screen. The panel will choose the winner and declare one lucky society ‘the best amateur dramatic society in the UK 2011.’ Their prize is a performance on a London West End stage.

“Sky Arts wants to recognise the importance of the amateur dramatist to UK cultural life. Sir Ian McKellen, Judi Dench and Patrick Stewart all began their illustrious careers within amateur dramatics,” comments James Hunt, Sky Arts Channel Director. “We were amazed to discover how many people are involved in some form or another, with amateur theatre. With this series, the emphasis will be on excellence of acting which can be found in the most unexpected of places. We hope to find amazing new talent who can put on a performance worthy of its final West End setting.”

“Stagestruck is more than a talent show: it’s a celebration of how amateur theatre can be a beating heart of communities all across Britain,” says Nicolas Kent, Creative Director of Oxford Film and TV. “This is an exciting and ambitious production and we are thrilled to be joining forces with Sky Arts.”

“Amateur theatre is an important part of the cultural life of the British Isles, providing a creative outlet for people of all ages and from all backgrounds, whether on stage, back stage, or running committees on a voluntary basis. This initiative by Sky Arts is most welcome as it will provide further recognition for everyone who supports amateur theatre in their community,” says Tony Gibbs, Chief Executive of the National Operatic and Dramatic Association, the leading representative body for amateur theatre.

Release issued by: Sky Arts

LINKS

Sky Arts website