Hackney’s ‘I’m in 4’ talent contest a hit with the crowds

Radio and TV presenter Kat B hosted a night of lively entertainment at the Hackney Empire on Friday night (4 February) for the launch of the Discover Young Hackney youth arts festival.

Hundreds of young people enjoyed performances by local singers, dancers and musicians. Singer, Holly Watson-Abell, 12 stole the show with her version of Fairytale, and her act was judged the best of the night, earning her a scholarship to London ‘fame’ school x7heaven Academy.

Holly, who had never competed in a competition before said: “I was really nervous but it felt great being on stage. I’ve only ever performed with my drama club. It’s amazing to win, I’m so happy. Now I’d like to go on to be a world renowned super star and win a MOBO award."

The other contestants included Liam (Ritz) O Brien (solo); Robyn Louise Regan (solo); Latisha Antoine and Aimee Riley (Duet) and trio Ruth Sesay, Tola Balogun and Samuella Kwquie (Trinity).

Guest acts included singers Chantelle Nandi, Miles Davies who won the first ‘I’m in 4’ talent contest, Circus Space, and X7eavan Academy who performed an anti-bullying dance and drama piece. The Hackney Empire Gospel Choir led by former Holby City star Sharon D Clarke and Wacky Rymel also performed.

Discover Young Hackney is Hackney Council’s month-long programme of free activities for residents aged 11 to 19, making arts and culture more accessible to young people. The free sessions and workshops taking place throughout February across Hackney include Design, Make and Create, where young people can try their hand at fashion illustration or 3D construction; Glee dance session; Discover Film, a chance to learn more about the art of film making and Animation workshops.

Now in its fifth year, the festival has proved a successful way of providing positive activities, increased self confidence and pathways to employment and training opportunities in local cultural industries. The varied programme offers workshops in photography, theatre, dance, and film through to fashion, design and creative writing. Look out for our flyers and lamppost banners to find out more.

Cllr Jonathan McShane,Hackney Council Cabinet Member for Community Services said: “Congratulations to Holly who was a really deserving winner but I’d also like to say well done to all the acts who made the final. The ‘I’m in’ talent contest has a hard earned reputation for being a high standard and I was really impressed by the quality of the acts. This goes to show Hackney is a hot bed of untapped talent. I’m delighted that through the council’s Discover Young Hackney programme we can give more young people a chance to get involved in arts and culture projects.”

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