Six million tweens tune into YouTube channel of UK musical theatre kids(October 23, 2015)
Millions of tweens turn off the telly in favour of musical theatre kids on YouTube – breathing new life into the West End
A new generation is being introduced to the world of musical theatre because of a group of talented kids on YouTube, who have a fan base of more than 6 million international tweens and teenagers, which is growing by the day.
The Spirit Young Performers Company has clocked up over a million for just one of its videos: a Disney mash-up medley.A performing arts company of children has become a YouTube phenomenon and has now surpassed 5 million views on YouTube.
The Spirit Young Performers Company has clocked up over a million for just one of its videos: a Disney mash-up medley.
Spirit, which made its TV debut on Keep it in the Family in the summer, is made up of a bunch of elite singers, actors and dancers, many of whom are already stars of the west end stage. These talented youngsters are taking social media by storm, with fans traveling from Europe to meet their idols, and an online audience that spans the globe.
Sophie Boyce, the 23-year-old entrepreneur that founded Spirit, says traditional TV viewing for teens and tweens is dying. “This age group is just not watching traditional TV anymore,” she says. “The rise in the use of social media, especially YouTube, with 300 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute, has meant that millions of young people no longer watch TV for their entertainment - they watch YouTube channels. And they are watching it on the move.”
And the popularity of musical theatre and performance video is on the rise. Sophie’s passion for performing arts and her knowledge of film and TV (she has a first class degree in filmmaking, and was a scriptwriter for Skins on Channel 4 before founding Spirit) gave her a winning formula, and she is now reinventing the stage school model – creating mini-celebrities of her students, as they train.
“My team professionally films my students’ high quality performances, which provides great online entertainment for their fans, and also provides my talented students with a unique platform to showcase their skills to casting directors, industry officials and the general public,” she says.
"We are the only company that uses a multi-camera crew. We release both performance videos and behind-the-scenes footage on Youtube. They have received a phenomenal amount of attention.”
And that is not surprising: children are having a major moment in the world of theatre and performing arts, with some of the most successful musicals now being led by child stars, rather than supported by them - think Matilda as the major game-changer. The popularity of child performers on the stage and also on shows like Britain's got Talent, has tricked down into the part-time stage schools up and down the country, with an explosion of demand from kids, and their driven parents on their behalf, to tread the boards.
Sophie cites Dance Moms, a US reality show about a dance-school for kids - as a source of inspiration: "People all over the States became hooked on that show and fascinated by the little personalities of the children."
And Spirit is starting to see the beginnings of that sort of fan-based popularity. Worldwide viewers tell Sophie their favourites and follow their careers.
But she is nothing like the monstrous Dance Moms school owner Abby. Sophie gets the results she does from her little charges because she is so approachable and friendly, like a big sister.
Videos featuring students like Cleo Demetriou and Lara Wollington (both have played Matilda in the West End) have received over a million views, as has the recent Disney mash up medley.
Current Spirit students are appearing in Gypsy, the current UK tours of Annie the musical, and The Sound of Music, inspiring thousands of Spirit fans around the world.
So what next? Sophie is at the top of her game, having already reinvented the stage school model for the 21st century, and she is still only 23. But she has many more ambitions for the business and is open to opportunities too, and with that entrepreneurial Spirit burning inside her, the performing arts world better watch out!
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Notes to Editors:
About Spirit Young Performers Company
- Spirit founder, Sophie Boyce (23), studied practical filmmaking at the renowned Met Film School, leaving in 2012 with a 1st class Honours Degree. She went on to work in TV, becoming a writer for TV shows like Skins and editing promotional films for Hollyoaks, amongst others, while continuing to pursue a filmmaking career. She founded Spirit two years ago.
- Over 75% of a Spirit students have been employed professionally as a performer.
- Spirit's three most popular performance videos today have a combined view-count of 2.3 million. Our overall view-count currently stands at 6.2 million.
- In the last month, Spirit videos have been watched for an estimated 2,292,748 minutes, and have proved most popular in the UK, USA, Germany, Australia and the Netherlands.