A PERFORMING arts school has launched a project to support its industry, following the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

With theatres closed and shows put on hold, artists, performers, directors, backstage crews and more are facing hardship this year, and Starcast has set up #ProjectSupportTheArts to help.

The scheme aims to link stars within the performing arts industry to Starcast students, offering them an opportunity to perform and teach while off-stage.

#ProjectSupportTheArts came into action in Salisbury over the October half term break, with West End stars Kelly Downing and Collette Guitart, from musicals Hamilton and Six, leading socially distanced workshops for Starcast students.

Starcast principle for Salisbury and Romsey Kiri Golding described the response to the workshops as "incredible", adding: "After seven months away, when we came back with restrictions I wanted to give students something to physically take part in, an exciting opportunity that explored new options.

"There doesn't seem to be much support for the arts so we did this to give our students an opportunity while supporting a much bigger cause.

"We were really lucky to source these actors and we're hoping [after the second lockdown] to get some more in. If we don't support these self-employed superstars now, we won't have any of this industry left."

Kiri added: "It is incredibly important to keep [the arts] going as it is the mental and physical wellbeing of these people. We need these creative spaces."