max temp: 6°C

min temp: 6°C


Ipswich’s Roma, 12, off to Birmingham for final of Open Mic UK Songwriters contest

Twelve-year-old Roma Manteiga Nicholson will perform in the grand final of the Open Mic UK Songwriters Competition in Birmingham this weekend. Picture: JON TURNER

Twelve-year-old Roma Manteiga Nicholson will perform in the grand final of the Open Mic UK Songwriters Competition in Birmingham this weekend. Picture: JON TURNER


Tomorrow’s the day all 12-year-old Roma Manteiga Nicholson’s work pays off, as she performs in the grand final of the Open Mic UK Songwriters Competition.

More than 10,000 people from across the UK competed for the chance to perform at the NEC Birmingham. Previous entrants include Birdy, who was only 12 when she won in 2008; plus the X-Factor’s Lucy Spraggan and Luke Friend.

The student at Stagecoach Performing Arts Ipswich won one a spot in the final with her self-written song Father. It features on her EP Welcome to the Waterfront, which she released to raise money for Suffolk-based homeless charity Selig.

“I love performing and have been writing songs since the age of nine. I come from a musical family, as both my parents sing and perform, so they have really encouraged me and it is lovely they’re so supportive,” says the St Alban’s Catholic High School pupil.

She’s no stranger to the stage, starring in pantomime alongside the late Paul Daniels at the Ipswich Regent and debuting in her first professional role as Young Princess Fiona in the Shrek West End Musical Tour when she was just 10.

“I had an amazing 2017, performing and meeting some amazing people and being in the final of such a massive competition is a very exciting way to start the new year. I can’t wait to perform at the NEC Birmingham.”

Sarah Corbett, principal of Stagecoach Performing Arts Ipswich, says Roma is a wonderful example of the power of the performing arts to give children the belief they can succeed in whatever they set their mind to.

“A very talented individual, she has been coming to Stagecoach classes for eight years and it has been a delight to see her develop from a shy girl who wouldn’t leave her parents’ side to the confident young performer she is today. We wish her all the best for this week’s Open Mic UK Final.”

Stagecoach Performing Arts Ipswich is part of a network of more than 650 extra-curricular performing arts schools worldwide.

Many children have gone on to study and work in the business - from blockbuster films to countless roles in local theatre productions.

Visit www.stagecoach.co.uk/ipswich or call 07900 657780 for more info.

Known best perhaps for playing Brookside’s Lindsey Corkhill, Claire Sweeney’s causing just as much trouble as bridezilla Irene in the classic musical Crazy For You, at the Ipswich Regent from Tuesday.

Ria Jones was destined to play Sunset Boulevard diva Norma Desmond. She speaks about the latest UK tour, coming to Ipswich in March; our obsession with fame and the lack of meaty stage roles for women over 50.

School choirs from across Suffolk are fine-tuning their performances for competition with the Great EACH Choir Off now just a few days away.

An independent Suffolk music venue has warned that a “long, sober look” is needed at supporting live music venues across the country, as a new national survey reveals threats to the future of some spaces.

Sculptor Paul Richardson is best known for his quirky, figurative steel sculptures – over-sized East End geezers, a Roy Rogers-style cowboy, a native American chief on the warpath, Pegasus, a flying horse, a Day of the Dead Mariachi and a earnest looking butler, among many others.

Stopgap Dance Company has a reputation of offering opportunities for disabled dancers to perform before mainstream audiences. Arts editor Andrew Clarke spoke to experienced dancer David Toole about performing in this new dance-drama

A creme egg in a glass, Peter Rabbit’s temptation chocolate cake, a pistachio Easter Bunny macaron and a pastel rainbow cake finished with Mini Eggs - The Assembly House in Norwich has a cracking new Easter-themed afternoon tea

Films with re-watch value, movies with a unique quality, will become the classics of the future. Arts editor Andrew Clarke presents a series of idiosyncratic suggestions for movies that may entertain if you are in the mood for something different.

The first thing I can say is that it is safe to say the Jason has won a new fan.

Sir Cedric Morris was one of East Anglia’s great artists, famous for his flower paintings, a new exhibition aims to reveal that he was a painter with a far greater palette. Arts editor Andrew Clarke spoke to his pupil Maggi Hambling about her aspirations for the exhibition.

Most read

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24