THIS is the very last call for budding entertainers looking to take part in this year’s Carnival Concerts, writes Chris Hocking, Life Member, Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival.

Auditions for our front-of-curtain acts will be held next Tuesday, May 21, and we have just extended the deadline for applications to 5pm on Friday, May 17, of this week. 

So, if you are a singer, dancer, comedian, juggler, etc, etc, seeking to show your talent to an appreciative audience, don’t miss this opportunity! 

And you could be following in the footsteps of many an illustrious performer whose career in entertainment began at these very shows.

There were no carnival clubs taking part in the very first concerts held at the Town Hall on October 31, 1883, it was all front-of-curtain acts who entertained the large, enthusiastic audience. 

The entire programme consisted of local, talented performers performing popular songs of the day, accompanied by B A Christy’s Band under the leadership of bandmaster E J Tout, who also delivered cornet and a violin solos. 

A comic lecture on Guy Fawkes courtesy of Messrs F Hayward and S G Jarman was very warmly received and, by all accounts, this initial carnival concert was deemed a huge success.

In 1950, one of the first front-of-curtain acts to make her mark in the world of entertainment was Shirley Sands. 

A few years later Shirley landed a recording contract with HMV and was a very popular professional singer throughout the 1950s.

Carol Waterman first appeared in the concerts in 1958 performing two songs from the hit west end musical ‘My Fair Lady’.

Twenty-five years later she created the character Grotbags, who became the principle antagonist in the Rod Hull television show ‘Emu's World’ before going on to have her own TV show in the early 1990s.

In more recent times both Andrew Jeffrey and Steven Paling progressed from the concerts to Theatre School and then to the West End, and have continued to pursue a career in musical theatre.

A brilliant guitarist Devon Salinas was entertaining concert audiences in 2018.

Five years later he released his first captivating single ’Say It’ which drew global attention with a fusion of jazz and soulful R&B vibes.

Of course, most acts simply enjoy the experience of entertaining concert audiences without a thought about making it their career, although there have been many who have taken lead roles in amateur productions across the region.

“The Carnival Concerts give everyone with a talent to show exactly what they can do, to a very appreciative audience,” explained Concert Coordinator, Anne Middleton.

“It is an opportunity which is rarely afforded in other towns and cities across the UK.”