Andrew Gowland and Murray Grant
A Scottish charity is targeting a substantial five-figure fundraising to further its aim of broadening access to careers in the performing arts industry.
The MGA Foundation has set May 11 as the night for its first-ever formal funding drive, with a gala dinner at Prestonfield House Hotel in Edinburgh.
Up to 300 guests are expected to attend a glittering evening that will include top-drawer entertainment from those who are now working on stage and screen as a result of the Foundation’s assistance.
Officially set up in 2017, the MGA Foundation supports people from non-privileged backgrounds by offering financial freedom to pursue education and training in singing, acting, dance and musical theatre.
Funding is available to individuals based in Scotland wishing to pursue one-off, part-time or full-time courses at any institute anywhere in the UK, as well as to those looking to come to Scotland to pursue such training.
Among those who have previously received support from the Foundation are West End performer Ronan Burns, Disney film star Thomas Doherty and dozens of others such as Blair Gibson, Abigail Stenhouse and Kieran Cooper, all of whom are today making a living as performers travelling the world.
Drew Gowland, co-founder of the MGA Foundation, said the money raised on the night will go towards funding the future of the expanding performing arts sector.
“Like every other industry out there, we need to ensure we are attracting the top talent, regardless of an individual’s background or personal circumstances,” he explained. “The performing arts is a profession, and those who wish to have a career must be properly trained, just as in any other profession.
“That’s why we’re so excited to be hosting this inaugural fundraising event. We’ve received support from right across the community, with generous donations for our raffle and charity auction, and we’d be thrilled to finish the evening having raised £20,000 to further the work of the MGA Foundation.”
Gowland also wants to introduce the Foundation to a wider audience as it seeks to expand its work. The organisation is currently looking for volunteers to sit on its board of directors to support the charity’s growth.
Gowland and his partner, Murray Grant, set up the Edinburgh-based MGA Academy in 2009 to provide high-quality training north of the Border. The Academy is now operating at university level, with a current full-time enrolment of more than 200.
From the beginning, Gowland and Grant would informally waive the fees of talented students who would otherwise not be able to afford the training. This eventually evolved into the formation of the MGA Foundation as a separate charitable entity.
“We realised after a while that if this was happening at our own academy, it was probably happening elsewhere too,” Gowland said. “That’s why we set up the Foundation, and despite the links between it and the MGA Academy, it’s important to understand that the Foundation is a stand-alone operation supporting students wishing to attend any one-off or part-time educational opportunities at any reputable school anywhere in the UK, and those seeking funding for full-time courses at any CDET-accredited institute in the UK.”
A limited number of tickets are still available for the gala dinner on May 11, and can be ordered by clicking here.
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