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New partnership with premiere live venue is music to the ears

Music production and performance students hone employability skills

A new partnership between the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and renowned Preston live music venue The Ferret has struck an employment chord for students studying on UCLan’s BA (Hons) Music Production and Performance.

Since the beginning of term with Covid restrictions lifted, UCLan students have teamed up with Preston’s very own ‘School of Rock’ to plan, run and perform in free monthly shows.

And on Tuesday 14 December, the group of talented final year students have organised a free Christmas show, open to all, which as well as featuring an open mic slot and student performances, also includes special headline act the Pancake Steel Band, a popular five-piece from Darwen.

Ivana Douglas, a third-year music production and performance student is one of the show’s key coordinators. The 26-year-old is no stranger to organising events having worked at the Grand in Clitheroe before enrolling at UCLan. “We’ve already hosted a couple of shows at The Ferret and the atmosphere has been incredible. Any student or member of the public can take part in our open mic session but from 8.00pm onwards music and performance students take centre stage followed by our headline act.

“After the Covid lockdown The Ferret has given us a valuable opportunity to perform to a live audience which is something you can’t beat.”  

UCLan’s Simon Partridge, Senior Lecturer in Music, added: “Since coming back to campus this year we have developed a reciprocal partnership with The Ferret in order to give music students the chance to perform in a public venue and catch up on some of the experiences they’ve missed. We’re also keen to support a key grassroots setting which has been part of Preston’s cultural life for many years.”

Third-year music and performance student Charlotte Smith has benefitted greatly from the initiative. “It’s been a slightly surreal experience playing and singing inside a packed venue again but nevertheless a really enjoyable one,” the final year UCLan student explained. “Although I’ll be looking for career opportunities within the recording and production side of the music industry, the experiences we’re all gaining at The Ferret have been invaluable.”

Manager at The Ferret Matt Fawbert added: “It’s been great to partner with the UCLan students on this initiative. There is some real energy, talent and creative drive in the group and I’m sure this experience will help in their quest to forge careers in the music industry.

“We’re all looking forward to the performances on 14 December, it’s free to attend and open to all.”

The 14 December show, billed as an early Christmas party, starts at 7.00pm for the casual open mic acts, at 8.00pm performance students will take to the stage with the Pancake Steel Band appearing at approximately 9.30pm.   

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