Jimmy's latest role is patron of youth theatre
Murphy's Law's actor Nesbitt praises talent
One of Ulster's best known actors has given his support to the pupils of Youth Lyric by agreeing to become their Honorary Patron
Jimmy Nesbitt, star of Jekyll and Murphy's Law, said he was "delighted" to be involved with "so much talent, enthusiasm and commitment".
Youth Lyric, which holds weekly classes in Antrim and Belfast for 300 students, has staged a number of highly successful productions in the Waterfront Hall and will stage an adaptation of Animal Farm in the same venue between Wednesday, January 30 and Saturday, February 2.
Speaking about his role as Honorary Patron, Jimmy said: "I am delighted to be associated with Youth Lyric and really enjoyed my visit to its production in the Waterfront last January.
"The young people on stage had so much talent, enthusiasm and commitment, and I look forward to meeting them all again during my next trip.
"I was actively involved in youth theatre as a teenager and know from experience of just how many benefits come from participating in youth arts."
Aidan Browne, artistic director of Youth Lyric, said the support of the star would provide a boost to the group's work.
"It means having a really high-profile figurehead to encourage young people from Northern Ireland and show them that they can make a big difference in the performing arts industry," he said.
"Some of the young people who come along to the group want to be actors like Jimmy Nesbitt. Others go on to different careers, but have gained skills and confidence they have learned with us.
"It's great to have someone like Jimmy Nesbitt encouraging and giving his seal of approval to our work."
Dr David Alderdice, chairman of the Board of Trustees of Youth Lyric, welcomed Jimmy's decision to support the group.
"I am pleased that Jimmy Nesbitt has agreed to support the young men and women of Youth Lyric by becoming our Honorary Patron," he said.
"He made a point of speaking to every member of the cast after our recent production in the Waterfront Hall.
"The young actors and dancers in the cast were most grateful for his presence and words of support and encouragement."
It is understood Jimmy intends to return to Belfast in the new year to attend a VIP evening following the Youth Lyric production of Animal Farm.