Guildhall Young Artists Taunton celebrates inclusion in prestigious national performing arts network

[Photo of Michael Eavis by Nic Serpell-Rand]


Guildhall Young Artists Taunton endorsed by Creator of The Glastonbury Festival, Michael Eavis, and Conductor and Artistic Director of Paraorchestra, Charles Hazelwood

Guildhall Young Artists Taunton, the area’s leading performing arts centre, is delighted to join the Guildhall Young Artists national network of centres, which also includes Centre for Young Musicians, Junior Guildhall, Guildhall Young Artists King’s Cross, Guildhall Young Artists Norwich, and Guildhall Young Artists Online all of which provide training, teaching and support for children and young people wanting to experience performing arts.

Michael Eavis, Creator of The Glastonbury Festival, says:

“This centre is vital if we are to develop the next generation of talent from every background. Young people living in a rural area like Somerset have sometimes had to relocate or travel long distances to obtain high-quality performing arts opportunities, but with Guildhall Young Artists Taunton, I am pleased to say that this is no longer the case – we have now created an opportunity on our doorstep.”

Charles Hazlewood, Conductor and Artistic Director of Paraorchestra, says:

“Having a place like Guildhall Young Artists Taunton is a real asset for all children and young people in Somerset. To have a centre with this breadth of imagination and acumen is a vital resource, to fuel the potential of future generations of music makers and performers.

This unique performing arts centre, which my daughter has been a member of, where she felt included and inspired, ensures that children and young people from all backgrounds in Somerset can access high-quality training. 

As someone who has championed inclusivity in music, and who is passionate about the arts in this area of the country, I’m delighted to have this centre on our doorstep. There was a time where London was the main place to access such high-quality opportunities within the performing arts, but I’m pleased to say that Somerset is quickly becoming a strong contender.”

Guildhall Young Artists Taunton is run and overseen by Guildhall School, in partnership with Richard Huish College (where the centre is based) and Sound Foundation Somerset, the Music Education Hub for Somerset. These partnerships ensure that children and young people attending GYA Taunton have access to opportunities that will develop and enrich their experiences as creative individuals.

Over 100 students take part in Guildhall Young Artists Taunton activities, including weekly Saturday courses and summer schools (in 2021/22). Bursaries and financial support are offered to almost 30% of students, with 82% of students educated at state schools in Somerset.

Across the Guildhall Young Artists network, over 1500 students are involved in centre activities, with students from over 700 schools and 23 counties attending courses each week.

Saba, age 14, a student at Guildhall Young Artists Taunton, says:

“Being a student at GYA Taunton gives me a sense of belonging. The experiences I have gained are phenomenal. Coming from a small school where I am one of a handful of musicians means that any kind of orchestra is out of the question. At GYA Taunton I get to regularly play in a group and gain skills that I wouldn’t get playing on my own.”

Kat, parent of a student at Guildhall Young Artists Taunton, says:

“My child gets a lot more from coming to GYA Taunton than just music – it’s the sense of community, friendship and creativity. It’s a safe transition to stepping on stage and giving them the confidence to perform. It opens up avenues which allows them to consider creative careers in the future, it moves beyond the systems they are exposed to elsewhere. The impact it has had on them is huge, now our whole family are learning instruments at home. It really has been life changing.”

Regardless of their ultimate direction, the professional artistic environment of Guildhall Young Artists Taunton provides students with valuable life skills and the means to develop their individual talents to the full.

The Guildhall Young Artists network aims to:

  • Introduce children and young people to high-quality arts education across a range of genres, allowing for creative understanding of multiple art forms and cross-art form collaboration.
  • Help children and young people build the necessary creative skills to reflect the new opportunities available to artists in the 21st century.
  • Encourage children and young people from under-represented backgrounds to engage in the performing arts.
  • Provide children and young people with necessary support (including financial aid), access to Guildhall School educators, key performance opportunities and technical, personal and social experiences.
  • Provide progression pathways for children and young people to access performing and production arts opportunities at higher education and within the industry.
  • Boost and embolden creative teaching talent across the country and support local teaching infrastructure.

Tash Moore, Interim Head of Centre at Guildhall Young Artists Taunton, says:

“We are delighted that Guildhall Young Artists (GYA) Taunton is part of the Guildhall Young Artists network, led by world-leading conservatoire Guildhall School of Music & Drama. The relationship with Guildhall School in London, means that we are able to bring high-quality performing arts tuition and industry-led opportunities to Somerset, which are not always accessible. Our partnerships with Richard Huish College and Sound Foundation Somerset will further help us to ensure that performing arts opportunities and high-quality training is accessible for all children and young people in the South West. Over the past 3 years, GYA Taunton has provided bursaries for over 45 students, as part of its commitment to widening participation in the performing arts. Furthermore, over the past 9 years, the centre has provided employment opportunities for over 50 specialist teachers from across Somerset to share their expertise. The impact creative studies has on a young person’s development is invaluable, and we are passionate about widening participation so that all young people can access high-quality training in the performing arts.”