Personal Stories: 'The level of talent in the arts here is astounding'
Michelle Baird from Bangor on her passion for the arts
The Stroke Association employee is also a professional solo singer who regularly performs with the Leading Ladies, The Soda Popz and the Elluna Music Trio who will be performing a special Christmas Night at the Movies concert in Mussenden Temple this Saturday.
Michelle said: "I have been passionate about the arts since childhood.
"I have had the good fortune to see many shows and plays throughout the world and attend local theatres practically every month.
"I was also privileged to perform on some of those stages including the Grand Opera House, Odyssey Arena, Waterfront and Ulster Hall and contribute to the NI arts offering.
"More and more people, who haven't previously experienced live theatre or events, are now able to do so through excellent initiatives like 'test drive the arts' and by bringing drama and music into schools, to educate children and young people about the joy it can bring.
"My partner Matt Forsythe, who is also a professional actor, has recently introduced me to serious, thought-provoking plays, written and produced by local playwrights and that has completely blown me away as the level of talent in NI is astounding.
"I support the Arts Council '13p for the arts' budget cuts campaign and I am also saddened by the threat to the Ulster Orchestra's existence as not only does it help keep wonderful music alive, it also delivers an excellent educational programme and nurtures young musicians of the future."