Even before ‘lockdowns,’ bright young stars were sparkling online from their own homes – ask Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes and Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino).
Born in ‘hard lockdown’ in April 2020, the Starz at Home Competition gives young talent a fantastic opportunity to ‘be discovered’ and shine online.
“We started Starz at Home because we wanted to create something that was uplifting, fun and affordable for everyone. We really believe that there is joy in performing – it sparks joy in the performer and the people watching,” says Competition Convenor, well-known multi-talent, Lisa Bobbert.
“The response was so great that we set up Season 2 in September. Gateway came on board as our platinum sponsor for Season 2 and Starz took off,” Bobbert explains.
“Last year we had close to 700 entries from all over South Africa. We have been overwhelmed by the talent and the response.”
As a Platinum sponsor, Gateway Theatre of Shopping has thrown its weight behind the initiative with publicity and prizes, including the weekly ‘Golden Buzzer’ award.
“As a bold, extroverted brand with a strong desire for creative self-expression, we are enthusiastic supporters,” says Marketing Manager, Michelle Shelley.
“If we can help young stars to achieve their dreams, develop local talent, build confidence, and experience personal growth from taking on this challenge, we are having a positive influence on our community,” says Shelley.
Bobbert says that messages from parents saying how much their kids have grown in confidence keeps them on track. “We want to celebrate every person that is brave enough to step up and put their talent on show, whether they win or not.”
The illustrious judging panel stretches across the Performing Arts and includes Sketchy Bongo, Paxton, Juliette Pauling, Inge Beckmann, Esjay Jones, Lloyd Cele, Nick Jordaan and Jane Linley-Thomas.
With regards to what the judges are looking for, Bobbert says, “we like to use Starz as an acronym – Something Special, Talent, Authenticity, Radiate a love of performing and a little Zaniness!”
Starz has grown and evolves with every season. In Season 2, a mentorship programme, put together by Jane Linley-Thomas, was added.
This year there will be Starz at Home live workshops brought to you by Gateway Theatre of Shopping. Starz celebrity judges and industry professionals Daisy Spencer, Shelley Mclean, Mthokozisi Zulu and Danny Guiselli will be coaching and sharing their skills with the up and coming starz. The cost for the two-hour workshop is only R50.
Entrants don’t need formal training or production facilities. “It’s about the love of performing and expressing yourself. Performances can be filmed on cellphones and uploaded to the Facebook group,” says Bobbert.
As production tips, Bobbert suggests “using good lighting and finding a background which is not too distracting, although the performance is always the most important element.”
Open to young performers between the ages of 5 and 21, contestants need to record a short clip – no longer than ninety seconds – of them singing, dancing, acting, or playing a musical instrument.
Three different age categories, from 7 to 11 years, 12 to 16 years and 17 to 21 years, and four performance categories – dance, vocals, acting, musical variety and family groups – make judging a bit easier. Entries can be solo performances or submitted in the family, or group categories.
For more information, join the Facebook group Starz at Home. Entries close on 31 May 2021.
PHOTO: Lisa Bobbert McIlroy is pictured with Keah Rose won Gateway Golden buzzer weekly winner last year. Keah has also entered this year as well.