Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Pupils add drama to historic Ards parade

OVER 130 pupils from three Newtownards schools will be taking to the streets for a spectacular pageant to 'un-masque' 400 years of the town's history on Friday, May 3.

The pupils will be using the historical 'masque' to take their audience back to 1613 and the granting of the first Royal Charter to Ards, which is being celebrated by Ards Borough Council with a special programme of events.

The drama will begin at The Old Cross with readings from the charter by the first provost, Hugh Montgomery, and spoken choruses by pupils from Victoria Primary School who will be dressed as different allegorical figures, Springtime, Peace and Good Government, in keeping with the tradition of masques.

The actors and spectators will then walk in procession through the town to Conway Square where they will be greeted by a fanfare of trumpeters from the upper windows of the Town Hall and a few numbers from a choir from Regent House.

Amy McKelvey, Community Arts Development Officer for Ards Borough Council, said: "Historically a masque was partly a carnival of fun and partly a serious discourse about the nature of good government, making it the perfect art form to celebrate the anniversary of the 1613 civic incorporation.

"The Council decided to involve local school children in the performance to include them in the 1613 celebrations and teach them about the history of their town, encouraging them to take pride in their heritage.

"The drama will undoubtedly be a real spectacle of sound, colour, and performance that will captivate spectators, offering something for the whole community to watch and enjoy."

Following the dramatic procession, the public will be invited to see a short play in the Queen's Hall by pupils from Strangford College, exploring life in the early Borough.

Peter Morgan Barnes from History Through Drama, who is directing the Masque, said: "The play promises to be fast moving, physical and funny and will provide suitable entertainment for children and adults of all ages with lots of music, pageantry and theatre. The children have been really imaginative and have embraced a sense of civic pride."

"The performance provides a rare opportunity for the audience to experience a traditional period-style drama and I would encourage as many people as possible to come along and view the performance."

The event will take place on Friday 3rd May starting at The Old Cross at 6pm and arriving in Conway square at 6.30pm, with the short play beginning at 7.30pm at the Queen's Hall. Tickets to the drama performance are free of charge but booking is essential. For more information or tickets contact the Arts Centre, Tel: 028 9181 0803, Email: arts@ards-council.gov.uk.

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