Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Hair it goes again for schoolboy bringing Broadway to home

Jamie McClelland (front, left) and actress Ellie Fitzsimons (front, right) with the Hairspray cast and production staff

A 16 year old pupil from Grosvenor Grammar School is bringing Broadway to Comber with his latest production Hairspray.

Young Jamie McClelland, from Ballygowan, is building up a spectacular repertoire for producing Broadway shows, produced through his own theatre company.

His latest production Hairspray is showing later this month at Andrews Memorial Hall in Comber on August 27-28.

Jamie said: “The rehearsals are going well. This will be my biggest project to date and I am very excited about it. Everybody is doing a fantastic job in the lead up to it. I must mention Adam Darcy, our musical director, who has really worked hard in helping us get this far.”

This is no small undertaking for schoolboy Jamie — with a cast of 35, a band of 15 and a crew of 20.

Only last winter Jamie suffered from a significant bout of ME and missed a period of school because of it.

He said: “I had a lot of time to think when I was off school, and it was then when I decided I wanted to do something even bigger this year for the show.

“I still feel tired sometimes but it is a lot better. I am expecting my GCSE exam results the same week the musical launches. I’m quite nervous about them, I really hope I get a good result in drama.”

Jamie explains how he first got involved in producing drama: “It all started years ago though when my friends and I set up our own group which we called Club JJ and put on shows in the living room and then the garage — it grew from there as I added lights and curtains.”

His company, Ravara Productions, began life shortly after the millennium, and is made up of his friends, neighbours, school friends from Grosvenor and also members of The Belvoir Players.

During his tenure, Jamie has put on 10 productions, such as DanSing, Jamie and the Magic Torch, Disney Dancin’ and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. He has been recognised by the Big Lottery Fund and for his latest show has received £2,500 from them to put towards the production costs.

Last year, Jamie’s musical production attracted an audience of more than 100 friends and neighbours.

With the funding and a bigger venue secured, it is hoped audience figures for 2010 will dramatically increase.

There are a few seats left for this year’s show. To book your place, visit www.ravaraproductions.com or telephone 07738080835/ 07707927002.

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