NORTH Stars performing arts group has ‘signed up’ its newest member, internationally acclaimed singer and actress, Ria Jones.
Swansea born Ria, 50, currently starring as Norma Desmond in the UK tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard, has agreed to become Patron of the Shaw-based company.
As well as performing as a soloist on three Royal Variety Shows she has also sung by royal request at Buckingham Palace, performed as a soloist to audiences in many of the world’s finest venues, and honoured to be picked to perform alongside Bryn Terfel, Tom Jones and Shirley Bassey for the opening of the Welsh Assembly at Cardiff Bay.
For good measure, in a career spanning more than three decades, Ria also starred as Mrs Overall in the tour of Victoria Wood’s Acorn Antiques – the Musical!, the role made famous by Julie Walters in the 1980s television sketch.
Ria started her training in a small, performing arts school in her home town.
So, she is keen to support the work at North Stars, enabling all their youngsters to explore their talents and receive quality training in a nurturing and supportive environment.
Linzi McCoy, director of North Stars, said: “We would like to thank Ria Jones for taking on the role of patron at North Stars.
“I recently met with Ria and she was impressed with all we have achieved so far and our plans for the future.
“We are over the moon to have the support of such a well-respected and experienced musical theatre performer.
“At North Stars, we believe in facilitating each member of our classes and groups to develop in skills, confidence and self-worth, and in giving back to the local community on a regular basis.
“We are very excited for 2018 and we will ensure Ria is updated with news and dates for special events, and we look forward to welcoming her to North Stars in the future.”
North Stars are also celebrating confirmation they have secured the rights to perform Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat at The Grange Arts Theatre in Oldham in June.
Casting will take place after Christmas with rehearsals beginning in January.
Meanwhile, North Stars musical theatre junior and senior classes delighted the audience at their Wonderful Winter Evening Christmas Showcase at Heyside Cricket Club.
As well as performing pieces from hit musicals Nativity and Elf, they also performed Christmas carols.
Proceeds from the evening – £230 – were donated to Dr Kershaw’s Hospice.