P&O Cruises has joined forces with Jonathan Wilkes and Wilkes Academy in order to give opportunities and work experience on board ships to young performers. P&O Cruises has also introduced a sponsorship program for two Wilkes Academy students each year in order to nurture and inspire new talent.

P&O Cruises head of entertainment, Paul Wright said: “I am very excited by this new partnership as it is imperative that we show today’s young talent the breadth of opportunities which are ahead of them. The theatres on our ships are state of the art with LED screens and automation which allow us to create contemporary world class shows and recruit the very best young talent. We employ over 200 performers and each one spends two months  rehearsing in our Southampton studios before taking the shows on board.

“We hope that by sponsoring two students each year and giving them insight and experience both on shore and at sea we can also give them a springboard to their future. I am proud that we are investing in tomorrow’s theatrical stars in this way.”

Wilkes Academy principal Jonathan Wilkes said, “Cruise ships provide an unrivalled training ground for young talent. With a number of different shows each week they practice their range of disciplines and so become a true all rounder. This makes them so much more versatile, which can only aid their future career. The performances on P&O Cruises ships are worthy of the West End or Broadway and are supported by the most high tech staging and kit to produce truly spectacular shows.  We are very fortunate to have this association.”