Search for a Darwen Star

On April 2nd 2009, The Academy hosted Darwen’s very own talent contest ‘Search for a Star’.  

Local primary schools were invited to host auditions and acts from Sudell, St James, St Barnabas, Holy Trinity, Ashleigh and St Paul’s were awarded placed in the final. The grand finale was packed full of talented acts from Bollywood dancers to martial arts experts and rock bands to street dancers. 


28 acts in total took part in the final show, with 10 representatives from the Academy and the remainder from the Primary Schools. The judging panel consisted of 107 The Bee FM’s Simon Brierley, Blackburn with Darwen Youth MP, Minhaz Khelya and our very own Simon Cowell, Mr. Loughran!  However, it was the down to the power of the people to decide the winning acts, as  every member of the audience was allocated an interactive voting keypad to vote for their favourite.


From the two categories, guitarist and singer David Nairn was the Academy winner, who wrote and composed his own song.  Funky street-dancer Jolie-Jade Billington of Holy Trinity won the hearts of the 300-strong crowd, to net the primary school prize.   Both acts won the opportunity to perform at this years Darwen Live festival, over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend.