Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Enjoy a close shave at theatre opening

Work has started at last on the construction of Northern Ireland’s largest capital arts project, The MAC (the Metropolitan Arts Centre), the successor to the Old Museum Arts Centre.

You’ll need no reminding that the new centre, in Belfast’s St Anne’s Square, will be the flagship home for all the arts — visual, theatre, dance, music and comedy — when it opens for business in early 2012.

A year earlier, the doors will have opened at the brand new Lyric Theatre in Ridgeway Street, where building is well underway.

However, these two projects are still quite far from completion, so audiences on the look-out for a touch of drama will be delighted to hear of a brand new theatre which opens its doors for business in less than a week’s time.

The 400-seat Theatre at the Mill in Newtownabbey is located at the old Mossley Mill site. Hopes are high that every one of the seats will be filled for the theatre’s grand opening on Tuesday, with Stephen Sondheim’s classic musical, Sweeney Todd, in which Peter Corry plays the demon barber, and Nuala McKeever takes on the role of Mrs Lovett.

Theatre manager Bernard Clarkson has lined up a season of great drama, beginning with a revival of Martin Lynch’s The Chronicles of Long Kesh, and including Big Telly’s forthcoming production of The Haunting of Helena Blunden.

Visiting company Shared Experiences will present Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie in the spring, and Morecambe — Bob Golding’s highly-acclaimed performance as funnyman Eric Morecambe — should attract much attention too.

The Theatre at the Mill will also host the Ulster Drama Festival, which has performances from The Scottish Dance Theatre and 2Faced Dance Company.

And, if you can’t even wait until Tuesday for a drama fix, get thee to Down Arts Centre pronto, where this evening they’re celebrating the life and career of the top female box office star of all time.

Doris Day: Music and Movies, features singer Brigid O’Neill, who’ll be joined by musicians Rod McVey, Johnny Scott and Rod Patterson, to present an evening of Day’s best loved songs. The show also features clips from some of her best-loved films like Pillow Talk and Calamity Jane — how could you resist? The Deadwood stage will come a-rollin’ over the plains at 8pm.

Finally, if you know a teenager who would rather be acting out the drama than reacting to it, you’ll be interested to learn about the Revolution that’s happening at the Ulster Hall.

Revolution is a series of free weekly drama workshops organised by Tinderbox Theatre Company on Saturday afternoons in the Ulster Hall for people aged 16-18.

Experienced tutors and professional actors who specialise in different performance skills, will be offering classes ranging from physical theatre to acting for camera.

They’ll be passing on their talents to participants during the three sessions each Saturday between 1.30pm and 4.30pm.

The classes are free of charge, you don’t need any experience, and you can just turn up on the day.

Participants can drop in at any stage before 3pm to get involved.

grania.mcfadden@ntlworld.com

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