The Garage in Norwich has revealed its new patrons and ambassadors. These include Everybody’s Talking About Jamie star Layton Williams, theatre and film heavyweight Lady Anwen Hurt, Olivier, Tony and Emmy Award-winning producer Richard Jordan and Frozen The Musical actor Gabriel Mokake.
Layton said: “The mission of The Garage Trust resonates with me personally. I believe everyone should have access to the arts. Being able to develop skills and explore techniques in a safe and supported space is incredibly important for children who may live in difficult circumstances.
“To build confidence and allow them to dream is a gift. I will 100% bring some FAB to Norfolk. It’s place I adore touring to and have many fond memories of performing and teaching here.”
Lady Anwen Hurt and her late husband Sir John Hurt moved to Norfolk in 2008. She studied at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire of Music and worked as an actor and producer in theatre for a number of years.
She became Head of Production at Mad Cow Films, specialising in film and television advertising and music videos. She has produced and cast a number of feature films including In Love with Alma Cogan which was shot entirely in Norfolk.
Lady Hurt said: “I’m delighted to be joining as patron. Performing arts develop the confidence of any age group, but I’m especially mindful of how a feeling of belonging can benefit the health and well-being of disadvantaged young people and give them the life skills to find their own way in the world.”
Also joining The Garage as a patron is Peter Wilson, the founder and Chief Executive of PW Productions, which is responsible for many West End and Broadway productions.
Peter said: “I want to champion The Garage’s mission. Whether or not you go on to have a career in the performing arts, participation at The Garage and working with your peers will teach you the value of teamwork, give you personal fulfilment, and teach you that everyone has potential.
“If young people are to value themselves and contribute to society, they must be offered ways to express themselves personally, creatively and collaboratively as well as academically. Passing exams is certainly a skill; but it’s not the only one of value.”
The Garage’s final new patron is Susan Kyd, an actor, artist/designer and actor trainer who continues to learn new skills and sees the importance of The Garage as a cultural dynamo in Norfolk.
Born and raised in Norfolk, The Garage’s first new ambassador Richard Jordan is described by The Stage as “one of the UK’s most prolific producers”.
Ambassador Lloyd Gorman is no stranger to The Garage, having composed music for every one of it and All-in Productions’ My First series of shows for ages 0-7 as well as music for The Pillowman (Norwich Playhouse) and Grimethorpe Race (The Arcola Theatre).
Also joining The Garage as an ambassador is Tanzanian born Gabriel Mokake who was raised in Norwich. His film credits include Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (Netflix), filmed in Norfolk. His many theatre appearances include Hamilton (Victoria Palace Theatre) and Dreamgirls (Savoy Theatre). He is set to appear in Frozen the Musical (Theatre Royal Drury Lane).
He said: “The Garage provided so many wonderful experiences and memories of my time in Norfolk as a young artist in training. I want to give back something. It’s amazing to have such facilities available for young artists to develop and build on their skills in a safe space. I’m looking forward to meeting and working with the artists and seeing their pathways blossom.”
The final new ambassador is Alex Sturman who grew up in Taverham. He first started dancing at Stagecoach Norwich, where he trained for several years in dance, singing and acting. Alex graduated from The Urdang Academy’s Dance and Musical Theatre National Diploma course. He’s a regular lecturer at Urdang Academy, teaching subjects including jazz and contemporary.