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Sunday, May 22, 2022

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GLL Cabaret Interview: Jason Reid chats to Prides Got Talent’s Michael Twaits

After a two-year hiatus because of you-know-what, Pride’s Got Talent, the foremost inclusive LGBTQ+ talent competition, is BACK! And it just wouldn’t be what it is without the queen at the helm, Michael Twaits — who I caught up with just as the heat stages were coming to a close… 

How does it feel to be back with Pride’s Got Talent? 

It’s such a relief! I can’t tell you how many times in the past two years I’ve set the contest up only to cancel it just before we go live. But this year, we are back and the talent seems stronger than ever. Actually being back in the venues during our heats, watching our acts and feeling that sense of community has just been joyous.

With the heats now all wrapped up, how are the semis looking? Anyone in particular caught your eye? 

The standard of the acts is off the charts and I don’t know how the judges are going to choose who to put through to the final. So many have caught my eye — too many to mention, and as host, I have to be impartial. What I will say is that the range of talent and diversity is what’s really blown me away — girl groups, rock bands, circus superstars, euro-camp singers, pianists, violinists, poets, kings, queens, queers of all variety. 

You must be very proud of how the competition has evolved. There’s a real sense of authentic community and camaraderie in PGT. What would you say that’s down to? 

I really am proud. I think authenticity comes from the openness of the competition. We don’t put any stipulations on what a performer might do — the music category is fairly self-explanatory but is so wide-ranging and includes opera and musicians who don’t necessarily sing. But with the cabaret category, this year alone we’ve seen poets, sculptors, shadow puppeteers and more. The joy of the contest is also that acts come back  — they may not have got to the final or won, but they enjoyed the process, have worked on their craft and come back fighting. And other acts return just to support the night and see all the new talent that the LGBTQ+ scene has to offer. 

Photo by Simon Webb

Your expert advice to the artists? 

Be true to yourself and what you want to say and do as an artist. There is no one way to create your path in the industry, the joy of the arts is that there are no rules and regulations. But at the same time, always be open to natural evolution — the world changes, we change, and art changes with that. 

When are the semi-finals and grand final?

The semi-finals will be taking place at Above the Stag. Music semis are planned for 18th and 19th May, while Cabaret semis are on 25th and 26th May. Doors open at 7pm and the shows start at 7.45pm. The grand final will be on 26th June — assuming all goes as planned — and we’ll announce the venue closer to the time.

Who’s gonna play you in the film of your life? 

Ha! The only person with the real range, depth and camp appeal to capture my life would be Miriam Margoyles. And we’re both in our early-mid-late twenties so I think it would work — it might even get her the long-overdue Oscar!

You can check out more from Prides Got Talent HERE. 

And more from Michael HERE.

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