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Emerging performers on Merseyside to keep your eyes out for

2 months ago

By The Guide Liverpool

Emerging performers on Merseyside to keep your eyes out for
Credit: Rare

Merseyside is a region renowned for its cultural and arts prowess. Boasting an extensive roster of globally acclaimed artists, world famous performers, actors and highly skilled dancers, the region is also home to some of the country’s leading performing arts institutions. 

Rare Studio has operated in Liverpool City Centre for over a decade, first opening its doors in 2011. To date, its students and graduates have appeared in TV and film productions for HBO, BBC, Netflix, Sky Atlantic and Fox, starred on the West End, at the National Theatre and in world-class productions, and have danced alongside some of the biggest names in music, including Dua Lipa, Ed Sheeran, Stormzy, Zara Larsson, Little Mix, Rita Ora and Robbie Williams. 

From new Netflix stars to Broadway breakouts, Rare Studio has an exciting portfolio of emerging talent. Here are just five names to keep your eye out for in the future.

Louis Quinn 

Starting his journey into the arts at just 11-years-old, Louis Quinn has already built up a musical theatre portfolio which has earned him a place on the West End. This year has seen Louis secure one of his most notable acting accolades since completing his training – he recently performed in The Secret Garden at The London Palladium, which he regards as the pinnacle of his career to date.

Establishing early in life that a career in the arts was the pathway for him, Louis joined Rare Studio in 2017.

Throughout his training, he’s been a huge fan of Sir Ian McKellen, admiring the phenomenal work he does as an actor, his activism, his patronage of small theatre venues and – most importantly – because he is the lease owner of Louis’s favourite pub in the Isle of Dogs, The Grapes.

Looking towards the future, Louis says his goal is to land a lead role in a long-running West End show but above all, to keep enjoying what he does. Over the festive period, the Northwich-born actor will be taking to the stage in the family favourite, Aladdin, running from December 3rd to January 7th, 2023, at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre. 

Louis Quinn

Louis said:

I’ve always wanted a career in the arts because the pursuit of progressing and improving felt so rewarding. I became certain of this whilst being at Rare. Being around people who all loved the arts, creating and learning material that inspired us, and having teachers and educators that challenged us really cemented the decision to work in the arts full time.

“To date, I’d have to say graduating university with a First and booking my first job are my most recent and biggest accomplishments. Though these may not seem so monumental to some, they are huge successes for me, and represent defining moments in my journey so far.”

Johnathan Georgiou 

Johnathan recently hit the headlines after being awarded the prestigious ITV Tony Warren Bursary to support him while he trains at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. 

After Johnathan won the Tony Warren Bursary, ITV’s Casting Director, Gennie Radcliffe, passed comment on the “captivating naturalness and intimacy to his acting” and proclaimed Tony would have “absolutely loved” the Anfield actor.

Still in the midst of his training, the 22-year-old already has big dreams for his future, admitting that “all actors aspire to be the most successful name there is” – his greatest inspiration is fellow Liverpool actor Stephen Graham, and Johnathan’s dream would be to work with him one day. Johnathan’s portfolio already features impressive roles and appearances, including Flesh at The National, The Laramie Project at Hope Street Theatre, and the founding a theatre company alongside fellow Rare graduates. Tip Tray Theatre is a Liverpool-based company made up of young local actors who are passionate about creating and producing original shows. Since launching, the company has worked in partnership with Hope Street Theatre on a number of sell out shows, including its production of Sunny Side Up and TBC.

Johnathan Georgiou

Johnathan said: 

Growing up as a guy in Liverpool, there were a lot of negative connotations around being a performer, so while I knew I always loved acting, I kept it as a hobby and on the back burner. 

“I carried on doing a few shows during school, and then got my debut performance at The Everyman Theatre which was surreal, and it was then I realised that this is what I wanted to do – it gave me a feeling I hadn’t felt before.

“I went onto sixth form as I feel that’s the direction you’re encouraged to go after school, but four and a half hours of drama a week just wasn’t enough for me, so halfway through the first year I visited the Head of the School and told them I was leaving. That was before I’d secured a place at Rare, before I’d spoken to my family, but I just knew that’s what I wanted to do.

“Any aspiring actor is lying if they say that being one of the most famous names isn’t a dream of theirs – it’s definitely one of mine. Ultimately, I just want to be able to make acting my full-time career and build a comfortable life doing what I love.”

Ellis Howard 

Walton-born Ellis Howard has become a big name across the region. First capturing the attention of local media back in 2012, Ellis was dubbed to ‘follow in the footsteps of James Bond star Daniel Craig’ at just 15-years-old after landing a spot at National Youth Theatre. 

His popularity continued to grow during the pandemic when he wrote and narrated the solo project, ‘The Same Boat’, a story which highlights the experience of people living in poverty. The video was commissioned by Church Action Against Hunger, the same charity behind Marcus Rashford’s campaign to end child hunger and was released in line with Challenge Poverty Week.

Graduating from his training just four years ago, Ellis already boasts notable TV and film appearances in his portfolio. The 25-year-old recently starred on BBC Three after landing a lead role in teen horror series Red Rose. Available on iPlayer, the series followed a group of friends in the summer after taking their GCSEs as their phones are taken over by a mysterious app.

Earlier in the year, Ellis appeared in the BAFTA winning Channel 4 care home drama, Help, alongside the very best of Liverpool acting talent including Jodie Comer, Stephen Graham, Ian Hart and Andrew Schofield. TV fans may also recognise Ellis from appearances in Sky Arts’ Romeo & Juliet – the first production by the National Theatre to be made exclusively for screen – and HBO’s Catherine the Great with Helen Mirren. 

To date, Ellis has performed in studios and on stages across the country, though Liverpool’s very own Epstein Theatre remains his favourite.

Next up for Ellis is his West End debut when he will be taking to the stage as Dill Harris in Aaron Sorkin’s adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird. Here he will appear next to award-winning actor and filmmaker, Matthew Modine, most known for his roles in Full Metal Jacket, The Dark Knight Rises and Stranger Things.

Remaining humble, Ellis’s ambition for the future is to “keep paying his rent through acting”, although potentially writing and starring in his own TV series would be a bonus.

Ellis Howard

Ellis said: 

“Rare demystified the industry for me in a way which felt tangible to navigate. From 13, we were meeting world class casting directors like Dan Hubbard and auditioning for incredible TV and film projects. 

“We learnt about graft, about respect, about how the industry works, and it felt like the first time in my life that somebody had told me: it isn’t just luck, that if you work incredibly hard, you can have autonomy over your own career, you can build the kind of life you would like — as a working class queer kid, I think that was revolutionary for me.

“My dream is that my career keeps surprising me, and I can hopefully make work that helps people feel less alone, less frightened, more bold, colourful and confident, just like I felt when I went to my first acting class.” 

Bethany McDonald 

Currently living a life some performers can only dream of in New York, Bethany McDonald is sure to be one to watch in the future. 

Having attended performing arts classes since she can remember, Bethany has been invested in the arts for the best part of her life, making the move into musical theatre at 14 years old. 

Her training has spanned schools across Barcelona, Liverpool, and London, and since graduating from the world-renowned London School of Musical Theatre, has flourished in her career as a leading lady.

Landing her first big break and Off-Broadway debut this year, Bethany has featured on stage at The Players Theatre in New York City, where she was cast as the leading lady in original musical Mike & Mindy’s Wild Weekend Jam. The St Helens born actress also recently played the protagonist role in The Players’ premiere of Brilliance, the story of Hollywood star Frances Farmer, so has become well acquainted with the Big Apple in recent months.

Heading south west from NYC to Tampa, Bethany is already ticking boxes off her professional bucket list and is currently rehearsing for SIX The Musical – a show she notes has been her “dream” since it first premiered in 2017Landing a role as part of the Queendom, Bethany will soon tour on the Norwegian Bliss where the show will be performed until the end of May 2023. 

Looking into the new year, Bethany aspires to participate in a US tour, allowing her to travel the country while doing what she loves most. Her ultimate goal is to perform on Broadway, an ambition her former Rare Studio tutors believe she’s more than capable of achieving.

Bethany McDonald

Bethany said: 

“I am truly so grateful that I am able to pursue this career and absolutely love what I do.

“Performing in two original musicals as the leading lady Off-Broadway this past year has been such a dream come true. Originating a role has always been a goal of mine and to get to do that twice in two incredible productions has been amazing.”

You can follow Bethany’s journey to stardom on Instagram, where she will be posting about her SIX The Musical journey as she travels across LA, Mexico, Miami, Alaska and Canada.

Jamie Graham

From TV appearances such as X Factor, The Voice and MTV EMAs, national ad campaigns including JD Sports, KFC and EE Mobile, and even reaching the big screen in Netflix’s Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Sage, Rare’s Jamie Graham has taken the dance scene by storm. 

Jamie discovered an interest in the arts when he was just 13 years old, actively scouting out any local studio to train at and noting “any dance class” he could attend was a “bonus”. 

Originally from Norwich, Jamie came to Liverpool for his dance training at Rare Studio aged 16 and refers to the city as “a really special place where I was given my chance to succeed”. Jamie now feels like “Liverpool’s adopted son” and wherever in the world he travels, coming back to Liverpool “always feels like home”.

At only 23-years-old, he has already well established himself in the industry as a skilled performer, featuring at some of the UK’s most prestigious events – his favourite being Glastonbury with Years & Years. 

His first “big break”, following JD’s 2017 Christmas campaign, saw Jamie grace the stage at Wembley Arena with singer and TV personality HRVY at the Teen Choice Awards. After this, work continued to present itself to Jamie in abundance and he became highly regarded by the UK’s top agents. 

Now living out his career in the capital, Jamie is going from strength to strength, most recently taking to the stage at the MTV EMA’s. With the launch of his own business on the horizon and bookings with notable names continuing, Jamie is a rising star whose future is destined to be bright.

Jamie Graham

Jamie said: 

“I never really knew I could make a career out of dance until learning about agencies and future options at Rare Studio. Just the thought of being able to make a living out of something you love is insane. 

“My main goals for the future are to live comfortably whilst continuing to do what I love. I just want to be content and happy, and so far, dance has provided me with that happiness.”

For more information about Rare Studio and its course offerings, visit: www.rarestudioliverpool.co.uk  

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