JA slide show
Home Academy Information Popstars History How Middleton Popstars Academy Started

How Middleton Popstars Academy Started


How MPA started

It all started in 1998 when MPA director Anne Marshall and her best friend Grace McKeown asked local young people what they would do to raise funds for a Middleton school that had been badly vandalised. Grace and Anne felt that if they realised the hard work that was needed to repair the damage that had been done, this could help prevent them taking part in further anti-social behaviour.

What the young people wanted were:


  • A football tournament. This was well attended and the boys who had taken part wanted to keep it going. We still run one every year as a fundraiser for MPA. Please see the Fundraising section.
  • A showcase event based on the Popstars television programme. This was a fantastic evening, with 300 young people queuing to take part. Annes friend Gail Stevens who went on to spend the next four years helping us, the late†Bernard Manning and his friend Bill Tarmey of Coronation Street came along to help and the result was an electric night.


At the end of it, a young girl, full of excitement, came running up to Anne, Grace and Gail to ask "When do we meet next? Please, please you've just got to; nobody else likes me because I have ginger hair". That was the moment that our organisation was born. The Manager of the Middleton Civic Centre let us use it one night a week, and the young people got to choose the name for the group Middleton Mini Popstars which changed to todays Middleton Popstars Academy of Performing Arts in 2004 because the young people of 1999 had got older.

Very sadly Grace is no longer with us but†her love and commitment will be remembered by all who knew her.