MP supports our stars of the future

Gazette's Terry Kelly meets MP David Miliband.
Gazette's Terry Kelly meets MP David Miliband.

SOUTH Shields MP David Miliband is giving a helping hand to the borough’s stars of the future by supporting a youth theatre project.

Mr Miliband is backing the Sunderland Empire’s Stage Experience, which sees youngsters take part in a two-week professional West End-style production – which this year is Fame The Musical.

As well as getting professional tuition, the project aims to provide nine to 25-year-olds with greater self-confidence, the chance to make new, like-minded friends and the chance to star on or backstage regardless of their background or previous experience.

There is a fee of £175 to take part, but the theatre has received funding for places through local sponsors.

Mr Miliband has sponsored a place for one child on the project and wants to see other firms follow suit.

He said: “Our borough has a wealth of talent, whether it’s X Factor winners, TV presenters or West End stars.

“We need to ensure every young person has the opportunity to realise their ambition. This offers a range of learning opportunities – with the ultimate experience of treading the boards at the Empire.

“I hope local businesses will show their support by contacting the team behind this programme to find out how they can help our young people.”

The project runs from July 23 to August 4 and successful participants will work alongside a professional crew to train in singing, dancing, acting and technical theatre.

Gemma Clough, the theatre’s creative learning manager, from Jarrow, said: “We aim to offer as many sponsored places as possible in order to give every young person the chance.

“We are extremely grateful for David’s kind support.”

To apply, download a form from, call 566 1056 or e-mail

Forms must be returned with four passport photographs by April 13. Auditions will be held on April 28 with call backs the next day. Anyone interested in sponsoring a place is asked to contact Miss Clough on 566 1056.

Twitter: @shieldsgazcrime