Night showcases our Young Performers

LITTLE STAR ... Customs House boss Ray Spencer with 10-year-old singer Sasha France. Below, the judges.

LITTLE STAR ... Customs House boss Ray Spencer with 10-year-old singer Sasha France. Below, the judges.

TALENTED youngsters raised the roof when they went through their paces at a South Tyneside theatre last night.

The nominees for the Pride of South Tyneside’s Young Performer of the Year category took to the stage at the Customs House, in South Shields.

The talent showcase saw 11 contestants perform for their shot at the award – sponsored by Port of Tyne – previously won by X Factor champions Joe McElderry and Little Mix’s Jade Thirlwall.

Nominees performed in front of a packed audience, judges, and a panel of experts, who gave their critique after each performance.

The panel was made up of reigning Young Performers of the Year, South Shields band The Waiters – Dan Johnson, Martin King, Rhys Chambers, and Adam Tait – actress Hazel Pude and actors Craig Richardson and Stephen Sullivan, who starred in last year’s Customs House panto, Cinderella, as the Ugly Sisters.

Competing for the award were 10-year-old singer Sasha France, of Randolph Street, Jarrow, who has overcome medical battles and loves singing.

Lily Brooke Widdowson, of Black Road, Hebburn, is also up for the award. The 16-year-old sings, and plays piano and guitar.

Singer Robyn Gerencser, 16, of Western Terrace, East Boldon, would love to turn her passion into a career.

Kieron Winter is also up for the title. The 17-year-old, of Farne Avenue, South Shields, recently auditioned for The X Factor.

Hollie Ritson is hoping to go all the way in her second shot at the title.

The 17-year-old, of Prudhoe Grove, Jarrow, sings and plays the flute and the piano.

Grace Ann Davison also performed. The 17-year-old singer and guitarist lives in Prensgarth Way, South Shields.

Hope Billie Swan is also hoping to win the title.

The 14-year-old, of Sunderland Road, South Shields, was crowned winner of the Gazette’s Xmas Factor competition last year.

Youngster Rebekah Grace Summerhill also sang in the showcase.

The 12-year-old, of Readhead Road, South Shields, dreams of becoming a West End star.

Five-piece band Eliza Smiles performed for their shot at the award.

The group is made up of Jack Errington, 16, from South Shields, Cale Davies, 17, from Hebburn, Lauren Amour, 17, and Charlie Winn-Davison, 16, both from Jarrow, and George Rowan, 16, from Bedlington, Northumberland.

Aspiring actor Andrew Dawson also performed. The 18-year-old, of Mayfair Gardens, South Shields, is a member of the Westovian Theatre Society.

Anna Fail is also in the running. The 17-year-old, of Grasmere Gardens, South Shields, recently starred in a production of 13 The Musical.

Gazette editor Joy Yates, said: “There was some really fantastic talent on display last night from all the nominees.

“I know that picking a winner is going to be a very tough job for myself and the other judges.”

Judges will now shortlist three contestants who will perform again at the Pride of South Tyneside awards ceremony at the Quality Hotel, in Boldon, on Thursday, June 12.

* Don’t miss tomorrow’s Gazette for the full coverage of the Young Performers’ showcase and more pictures.

Twitter: @shieldsgazvicki

The Young Performer of the Year nominees who performed for the judges were:

* Grace Anne Davison, with Don’t Forget Me from the TV show Smash

* Anna Fail, with Bring Him Home from Les Miserables

* Sasha France, with One And Only by Adele

* Lily Brooke Widdowson, with original song Counting Numbers

* Eliza Smiles, with original song Same Kind

* Robyn Gerencser, with Field Of Gold by Sting

* Andrew Dawson, with a stand-up comedy routine

* Hope Billie Swan, with Just The Way You Are by Bruno Mars

* Hollie Ritson, with All Of Me by John Legend

* Kieron Winter, with Counting Stars by One Republic

* Rebekah Grace Summerhill, with On My Own from Les Miserables




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