After the recent news about 22 year old Jersey Boy Jonny Labey landing a part in the EastEnders, I started wondering why the tiny island of Jersey is producing such amazing grown home talent for the both the stage and screen.
I believe you are born with talent, but it is the nurturing and encouragement of that particular gift during the formative years that is so important and Jersey should get the Britain’s Got Talent Golden Buzzer for the fantastic opportunities available on the Island for our budding superstars.
Jonny Labey and his meteoric rise from stage school to appearing in EastEnders from June 2015 is a prime example. I have seen Jonny perform in Jersey on various occasions. A school performance of Sweet Charity at JCG sticks out in my mind. Gigi Neil played the role of Charity and you could have been forgiven for thinking you were sitting in a West End Theatre. They were all terrific. I think Gigi and Jonny were around 17 at the time. Gigi is now based in New York and amongst other assignments she is developing her one woman show about the Hollywood icon and sex kitten, Brigitte Bardot.
Gigi’s cousin, Sam Noel, is currently touring in the UK with the cast of Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat … so plenty of showbiz genes in that Jersey dynasty.
Jonny Labey’s parents, Mark and Collette, both have great voices themselves and, along with Jonny’s younger sisters Rachel and Katie, are no strangers to treading the boards. There is also the le Brun family in Jersey who are particularly talented and Mum, Jane, not only sings like a bird, but like the Labeys, has been active in the production of local shows over the years, but there are so many more people who are nurturing Jersey’s young talent.
Stomp was one of the best musical performance schools in Jersey which was organised by Sue Cordwell . Sue put on the most incredible shows over the years involving children and young people from the ages of 7-17. 1 week of rehearsals over half term or during the school holidays followed by a show at the end of each week. What Sue did was brilliant and I never felt she received enough recognition for all the incredibly hard work she put in to produce such brilliant shows. Sue’s daughter, Charlie, went on to train at the Guildford School of Acting and many more from the Stomp days are making a career in the theatre.
So credit goes to all those poeple who encourage and promote such talent within the Island.
The Progressive School of Music has been around for a while, started by its very own superstar and numero uno teacher, Leila Begg, who can not only play the piano to perfection, she has an incredible singing voice as well. Seen here at the end of another one of her successful productions with her young cast.
Drama Lab introduce you to the world of dramatic art from 4 years old to 19 years old. The Jenca Music School provides instruction in most music genres. Academy of Contemporary Music graduate and well know local singer, Jaime Boylan, has started passing on her talents and experience having started B Vocal Jersey.
Virtuoso pianist and performer, Dominic Ferris, has been visiting Jersey with his West End Experience running weekly courses for Jersey’s young people, aided and abeted by some of his West End performing friends.
To receive training in the world of dramatic art is a great way for young people to gain confidence, even if they decide not to pursue a career in the theatre. I am glad to say if a career in the theatre is for you, then there are plenty of opportunities in Jersey to hone your skills and get the encouragement you so justly deserve.