A leading role for Lurgan’s Conor

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This summer 18-year-old Coner Headley from Lurgan will be treading the board at the Grand Opera House in Belfast as he takes on the role of Bill Skyes in the Summer Youth Project’s production of the hit musical ‘Oliver’.

Conor will be joining over 200 other young people from throughout Northern Ireland on stage for this classic Dickensian tale from Thursday July 27 to Saturday July 29.

Conor has just finished his A Levels at St Patrick’s Grammar in Armagh and is hoping to study musical theatre at university. He attends singing lessons with Clara Wilson for classical singing and Ashley Fulton for musical theatre and he also takes speech and drama classes with Shelley Frazer of the Lowry Theatre Group.

This is not his first involvement with the Summer Youth Project and he is looking forward to getting back on stage at the Grand Opera House.

“Two years ago I was in the chorus of Grease with the summer youth project and had such a great time not only was it a great show with such talented performers and I can’t wait for it all again this summer,” said Conor.

“I auditioned for Oliver because I love the music and the storyline. It’s a musical that I’ve always enjoyed watching but have never had the opportunity to perform in before so as soon as I heard that the Opera House’s Summer youth project chose Oliver as their show I was straight on to get my forms filled out and sent for the auditions.”

At the end of the lengthy audition process, Conor was thrilled to be cast in the role of the sinister Bill Skyes. “Whenever I auditioned I was jut happy enough to be part of the show but to actually get the opportunity to rehearse and perform on the Grand Opera House stage is just amazing,” he said. “I’m very excited to play the role of Bill Sykes as I’ve never played a villainous character before so to be able to get the chance to act this role is just brilliant. Bill is very intimidating and aggressive which I think will make it a challenging role but I’m so excited to be able to play such a great role.

“I’m extremely excited about the show, now that I’ve no more revision for exams it’s nice to be able to learn my lines before rehearsals and getting to know the cast and crew but also to put on a great show. I’ve even went and bought Oliver Twist to read again on my holiday before rehearsals.”