Derry writer in search for Donegal boy star

Eileen Walsh will be holding auditions on Thursday and Friday for a Donegal boy to play the starring role in her new children's drama series for Highland Radio. (2106JB57) Photo: Joe Boland
Eileen Walsh will be holding auditions on Thursday and Friday for a Donegal boy to play the starring role in her new children's drama series for Highland Radio. (2106JB57) Photo: Joe Boland

The search is on for a talented boy to play the leading role in an exciting new radio drama series created by a Derry writer and broadcaster.

Highland Radio will air the eight episodes in the children’s radio drama set in Donegal later this year.

As the drama is set in Donegal, producer of the series, Eileen Walsh, explained that the boy being sought for the starring role will need to be from Donegal and auditions will be held in schools there later this week.

The series follows the adventures of Casey McGonigle and his pet mouse, Madge. It also highlights the dangers of genetically modified food and the importance of grannies.

Derry-based Eileen said: “We will be holding auditions in schools in Donegal this week on Thursday and Friday. We are looking for a young schoolboy aged between 8 and 11 years of age, with a fairly good reading ability.

“The boy selected will play the starring role of Casey McGonigle. Casey is a normal schoolboy with a magic granny. And he goes to the fictitious Bertie McBrearty National School where no-one pays him the slightest bit of attention.

“The series will be produced this summer at Highland Radio in Letterkenny and will be broadcast later in the year. Any schools interested in taking part should contact me at the email address below or by telephone and then we can arrange a time on Thursday or Friday for auditions.

“It’s a great opportunity for budding actors. And it will also be great fun,” she says.

This will be Eileen’s second children’s radio drama series.

“In 2007 a twelve part radio drama I was commissioned to write for Inishowen Community Radio was broadcast and funded under the Sound and Vision scheme. Henry the Elephant was the first children’s radio drama produced in Inishowen and was a great success. We auditioned literally hundreds of children for the series in schools all around Inishowen.

Limit auditions

“This time we are looking for a boy to play the main character Casey. We are going to limit auditions to the first ten schools to contact us. We’ll be going out to the schools this Thursday and Friday.

“Every boy in the auditions will be asked to read a short piece of script and then our hero Casey will be chosen over the weekend. We hope to inform the schools involved of the final decision the following week, before schools break up for the summer.

“Highland Radio are very excited about the prospect of broadcasting to a new and extremely under-represented young audience. This will be their first ever children’s radio drama funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland under the Sound and Vision scheme. They are also delighted that the series is set in Donegal.

Professionally

“Each ten minute episode will be professionally produced, complete with sound effects. I am really looking forward to the auditions. If it is anything like the auditions I did for the last series, it will be fantastic.”

If your school is interested in taking part in the auditions for The Adventures of the Casey McGonigle Gang, contact Eileen Walsh on eileencwalsh@yahoo.co.uk or Tel: 00 44 75 963 15163.