YOUNG performers from Lurgan and Portadown took part in the annual productions of the Helen O’Grady Drama Academy recently in Portadown Town Hall, allowing the opportunity for all its students to show their development in confidence and communication skills.
The Academy, Northern Ireland’s largest community-based drama school, operates studios at the Lurgan and Portadown Town Halls on Mondays and Saturdays.
The Lower Primary, ages 5-8, performed a delightful play called ‘Pirate Joe’ with stunning pirate costumes and a wonderful display of acting skills beyond their years, PUPILS at the Helen O’Grady Drama School recently staged their end of year performances.
Junior members presented a pirate play which was a roaring success.
The play for the Upper Primary students, ages 9-11, was ‘Circus Capers’, there were tears of laughter in abundance as the ringmaster struggled to keep the failing circus on the road.
Each year as part of the Youth Theatre’s comprehensive theatre-arts course, secondary school students perform a challenging dramatic piece, using a particular style of acting. This year’s production focused on the melodrama genre, which was particularly evident during the Victorian era, where passion and villainy are exaggerated and focused on the age-old elements of good overcoming evil. As audience participation was actively encouraged, the audience had a wonderful time booing the villain and cheering the hero.
Principal of the Academy, which has 25 centres throughout Northern Ireland, Lisa Semple, said: “It was wonderful to see the breadth of talent across the different age groups. All our students have shown development in their confidence in verbal communication and their self-esteem which is what our unique programme offers. We are developing valuable life-skills.
“Most importantly, though, was to see the children having fun and enjoying the experience of being on a stage in front of a large audience. Many parents have commented on how their children are now more able to speak out in public and the improvement in the quality of speech which has had a direct effect on their school work.
“The Academy has been delighted with the support they have received from Head Teachers throughout the province who see the programme as an invaluable addition to the work they are endeavouring to achieve in this field but often, through certain constraints, unable to dedicate the necessary resources.
“The Academy, initially started in Australia, is now a vast international organization, and using an innovative curriculum which has been developed over 31 years, allows its students to progress from four through to 18 without ever repeating a lesson.
“We are a truly community-based drama school, with approximately 1,000 students attending throughout the province. We work on the principle that we go to the people rather than they come to us.”
The academy is currently enrolling for ages 4-18 in September. To enroll for your local classes telephone 028 9146 4337 or e-mail email@example.com