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Arts Council Celebrates International Manx Performers 17 January 2013

The Isle of Man Arts Council is delighted and proud to celebrate the recent success of three very talented young performers from the Isle of Man.

Samantha Barks is currently receiving world press attention and glowing reviews with her spectacular performance as Eponine in the Tom Hooper (The Kings Speech) film ‘Les Miserables’. Samantha who came third in the BBC TV talent series ‘I’d Do Anything’ came back to the island shortly afterwards, starring in the UK tour of Cabaret. Since then she has gone on to play Eponine in the West End production of ‘Les Miserables’, as well as the 25th Anniversary concert at the O2 Arena and is currently playing Nancy in the UK tour of ‘Oliver!’. The Arts Council committed grant support to Samantha when she was studying at Arts Educational School in London.

The Daily Mail said “Samantha Barks is so lovely, so natural as Eponine in the movie version of Les Miserables that you might be forgiven for thinking she’s made a lot of films.” The New York Daily News said “In a movie that touts Anne Hathaway and Amanda Seyfried (as Fantine and Cosette), Hugh Jackman (as Jean Valjean) and Russell Crowe (as Inspector Javert), it’s the unknown Barks who turns out to be the revelation ...”

On 20 February Lloyd Mayor will debut with the Martha Graham Dance Company at the Joyce Theatre in New York dancing the title role of Achilles in ‘The Show (Achilles Heels)’. Lloyd was chosen above one other student and all the other professional male dancers in an audition which his Martha Graham School ballet tutor asked him to attend. The choreographer is Richard Move who is Art, Drama and Dance Professor at Yale University. It was Richard who chose Lloyd for the role which has been previously danced by Mikael Baryshnikov, who founded the White Oak Centre of Art in New York. Lloyd is rehearsing there and meets him from time to time. Lloyd is a former student of Ballakermeen High School and in 2009 won the Arts Council’s Young Dancer of Mann Competition. The Arts Council has since supported Lloyd in his further education in dance through grant assistance.

As recently reported in local press, 20 year old Manx musician Jason Evans has been appointed Principal Trumpet with the Philharmonic Orchestra in London. Jason studied at the renowned Chethams School of Music in Manchester from the age of 7 and is currently studying at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He has also appeared with the National Youth Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra and in 2011 with the Hallé, brought to the island by the Arts Council, when they performed two concerts at the Villa Marina. Jason has also performed at the BBC Proms. The Arts Council has supported Jason with financial assistance for local concerts and for the purchase of musical instruments.

Laurence Skelly MHK, Chairman of the Arts Council said “All three of these Manx artists are achieving notable international success within their chosen fields. They are proof of the nurturing, creative environment the Isle of Man can provide for young people and what that can foster in those who wish to make the arts their career. The Arts Council are happy to be able to provide support for local artists in developing their talent and it is important that even in difficult economic times that funding is still available. We wish Samantha, Lloyd and Jason the best of luck in their burgeoning careers.”

For information about Arts Council funding go to www.iomarts.com or contact the Arts Office, Department of Community, Culture and Leisure, Illiam Dhone House, 2 Circular Road, Douglas, Isle of Man IM1 1PG, telephone: 01624 694598 or email iomartscouncil@gov.im.

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