AN Oxford charity supporting children into the arts is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a production of the Lion King at the New Theatre.

The Miss P Foundation was formed in Headington in 2009 to help youngsters who struggle to access opportunities in the arts due to social or economic barriers.

The foundation is staging a special show with artists, dancers, schools and musicians all performing on Sunday, August 4 at 7pm. They will perform the Lion King in the first half and celebratory showcase in the second half including renditions of Billy Elliott, Cats, The Bodyguard and Matilda.

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Founder Beverley Harry, an Oxford Spires Academy schoolteacher, said: “The Miss P Foundation is about giving people a chance in life, it’s so important.

The Oxford Times:

“The Lion King will be a fantastic performance and every ticket sold helps the charity support more youngsters.”

The Miss P Foundation works with community groups, individuals and organisations to produce artistic platforms to inspire and promote personal, social and educational development. It offers financial assistance towards full-time or part-time education.

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The charity was set up by Miss Harry in 2009 from her kitchen table when she discovered the barriers some youngsters face when seeking to pursue a career in the Arts – as she sought to fund a place for her own daughter.

Her daughter Portia Harry – Miss P - won a place at the prestigious Urdang Academy to study musical theatre. But as an art school it was not included in UCAS and so all costs were payable.

Miss Harry found the fees, living and travel expenses difficult as a single parent. Portia went on to receive a scholarship, but the experience planted the seeds of the charity.

Miss Harry said: "We managed, but it was hard, and it made me realise the challenges people had to put their children through Arts school.

The Oxford Times:

"So, we set up the Miss P Foundation to do what we could to help others. Ten years has gone in the blink of an eye.

"It is wonderful to see students grow in confidence and progress in their chosen fields.

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"Many families cannot afford the fees and costs involved in sending their children to arts school.

"What we do supports people and helps ensure they get the opportunities they deserve."

The charity raises funds by running summer schools and work-shops and putting on performances locally with students and charging for tickets. It also accepts donations. Aspiring performers can apply for assistance.

The Oxford Times:

Portia graduated in 2012 and has appeared in various UK shows including the original cast West End shows MOTOWN the Musical and Beautiful the Carole King Story.

The charity is run by a small team of volunteers.

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Miss Harry, who teaches sixth formers social sciences, is now looking forward to the next ten years.

She added: “This is about outreach - we want to grow and help more people and inspiring them to pursue a career in the Arts.”

To buy tickets visit misspfoundation.com