Belfast Telegraph

Monday 2 March 2015

Just a few days of training and they’re ready to rock the gaol

Our House, a theatrical performance, is rehearsed by children from north Belfast communities at the New Lodge Youth Centre
Our House, a theatrical performance, is rehearsed by children from north Belfast communities at the New Lodge Youth Centre

A leading musical theatre company is encouraging young people from north and west Belfast to aim for the stars.

Over the last four days Music Theatre 4 Youth’s (MT4Uth) artistic team from London’s West End have been using their expertise to help children from the Shankill, Ardoyne and New Lodge areas of Belfast perfect songs from the musical Our House.

The Belfast-based arts group is presenting the Gaol House Rocks concert at the former Crumlin Road jail this evening in partnership with New Lodge Arts, as part of its Aim High outreach and development programme.

The young people involved will be taking to the stage after just a few days of training and rehearsals.

The unusual setting was also used last month for the McCracken Summer School music event but tonight the songs of ’80s ska band Madness will fill the venue.

Katrina Newell, head of youth development at New Lodge Arts, said the youths involved were enjoying every moment of their intensive four-day musical theatre training.

“To work with musical theatre professionals over an intensive period is a fantastic opportunity,” Katrina said.

“The young people get so much out of it.

“It helps build self esteem and gives them confidence. It also gives them the opportunity to look at the bigger picture and their own opportunities in life.

“We have done four projects with MT4Uth and a lot of the young people have gone on to do other productions with them.

“This is a first step in the comfort of their own surroundings.”

MT4Uth chief executive Jenny Cooke said its Aim High courses are proving to be extremely beneficial in a number of ways.

“First, I know that working with disadvantaged young people can bring about life changing results,” Jenny said.

“Second, the strength of unsung talent waiting to be channelled is a joyful challenge and engages hard working, dedicated practitioners.

“Finally, the light in the eyes of a young person who has been praised for hard-earned artistic achievement is worth its weight in gold.

“How often do these young people get the chance to be nurtured by professional practitioners and shown how to achieve artistic success and personal pride?” Jenny added.

“MT4Uth is providing that opportunity.”

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting?

Nightlife Galleries


Latest Entertainment News

Latest Music News

Latest Film & TV News

Latest Eating Out News


Your Horoscopes by Russell Grant


Your employer will entrust you with some important tasks. Don't let them down. By doing a good job, you'll pave the way for a pay increase. You can put the extra money towards a home or car. Having financial security will allow you to develop your creative talents. It's important for you to exercise your imagination at every opportunity. Letting it lay dormant is like refusing to harvest a thriving crop. Stop wasting the valuable gifts you've been given.More