The show must go on for CMAT Arts Festival – with celebrity endorsement!

The show goes on for Cambridge Meridian Academies Trust’s (CMAT) Arts Festival after initial plans were changed due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Staff and students across CMAT have taken the opportunity to move their talents to the virtual stage, with the online festival already receiving endorsement from celebrities including Matt Allwright, star of The One Show and Rogue Traders, who recorded a video to support the event.

The CMAT Arts Festival was initially due to take place at the recently opened Northstowe Secondary College, Northstowe, Cambridge, at the end of June.

Lead organiser, Audrey Caldwell, CMAT’s Director of Music, did not want to see lots of hard work and preparation go to waste and has arranged for an entertaining programme of online activity, including vocal videos and online performances to round off the academic year.

The main event for students is the ‘CMAT’s Got Virtual Talent’ competition where students are invited to send in 90-second videos showcasing a skill or talent. This can be singing, dancing, performing magic tricks, telling jokes, or performing tricks with pets.

There will be two winners, one from the Trust’s primary schools and another from a secondary school, with each announced during a special grand finale performance on Monday 6th July that will be shared online across the Trust.

Audrey Caldwell, CMAT Director of Music, said: “We are so pleased that the festival can go ahead, even if it is not quite as we had planned. It has been great to see how committed students and staff across the Trust have been over recent weeks and we look forward to celebrating their efforts.

“We are also delighted to have celebrity support in the form of promotional videos with a very well-known comedy actress providing the role of celebrity judge. We thank the wider community for their support and hope the festival provides a positive outlet for students in the middle of their online learning.”

Across the festival, students and staff are getting involved with various group performances, including a secondary school choir-instrumental arrangement of Bob Dylan’s ‘Make You Feel My Love’.

It is hoped an arts festival will be able to take place at Northstowe Secondary College in 2021 so students can show off their talents to a seated audience. The college is at the centre of the new Northstowe community with superb facilities and space to host arts and music events.

Audrey added: “No matter how and where they take place, we want these events to really bring the CMAT school community together and demonstrate the importance and excellence of arts within education. 

“During this lockdown period and change to home learning we have seen just how creative and passionate the students have been with their arts and music. It’s great to see how we can still come together as a Trust to celebrate the arts, even when we’re not together in the same venue.”

“We have students in schools across Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire, and we hope to have lots of students, parents and friends of our schools tuning in for the online performances and Grand Finale.”

Full information on the CMAT ‘Virtual’ Arts Festival is available at

Press release from Cambridge Meridian Academies Trust

Melody Burton – student at Ely College watching herself rehearse for ‘CMAT’s Got Virtual Talent’
Oliver Smith – student at Nene Park Academy rehearsing for ‘CMAT’s Got Virtual Talent’
Matt Allwright – who recorded a video to support the event
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