Community arts organiser Ollie Green says that while Derry’s year as City of Culture has been a memorable one, long after 2013 it will be up to local groups, within local communities to once again become the shining lights of talent and culture in the North West.
With that in mind, a cast of 45 enthusiastic local actors took to the stage at St Brigid’s College this weekend for a showstopping production of the hit musical, ‘Grease’.
Staged by Showtime Productions, under the umbrella of Greater Shantallow Community Arts, the production premiered on Friday evening as part of Culture Night Ireland.
With participants from four right up to 60 years of age taking part on stage and working behinds the scenes, it gave a number of local people with an interest in theatre and performance a chance to become part of a professional production.
GSCA Director Ollie Green said the idea behind the locally formed stage school was in keeping in line with the broader thinking behind Greater Shantallow Community Arts.
“The production is the result of months of hard work from local, ordinary people from communities in and around the city who wanted to be on stage. From our premises at Studio 2 we’ve been working with young people from different schools in the area and other people who live in the areas we serve who’ve never had a chance to be involved in anything like this before. For the vast majority of the cast it was their first time performing in front of a live audience.”
Ollie thanked the huge number of volunteers behind the scene who made the production possible.
“The high quality of the performance, from the costumes, to lighting is down to the dedication of a team of volunteers who’ve worked quietly in the background over the past number of months. We also have to thank the new principal of St Brigid’s College Dr. Liam O’Cuinneagain for the warm welcome we’ve received at the school and for the use of the brilliant facilities. Obviously none of this would have been possible without that support. We’re also grateful for the sponsorship of Pennyburn Credit Union and Kieran’s Butchers.”
As ever, placing a strong emphasis on community, the local arts expert says the emphasis with Showtime productions will remain on nurturing local talent.
“This weekend’s shows are an example of what can be achieved, at a local level, on the ground and it’s one of the reasons Derry was chosen as City of Culture. We know that long after 2013 when the big stars have gone it’s these people, the young people in particular, who’ll be our stars of the future. We want to ensure that these local indigenous shows are given the support to ensure that they can continue to entertain local audiences long after 2013.
“We firmly believe that this will be the first of many outings for Showtime Theatre and we want to thank everyone who’s made the effort to come out and support us this weekend.”
Tonight (Sunday) is the final night of the ‘Grease’ production at St Brigid’s College. Doors open at 7pm, curtain up at 7:30pm, Admission, adults £5, children £3. All are welcome!