Landmark Playhouse training scheme is helping support a new generation of theatre makers

27th April, 2023

The Playhouse Theatre in Derry/Londonderry is nurturing a new generation of creative talent in the North West through an initiative designed to provide free tailored training and mentoring for young people wishing to pursue a career in the arts.

Siobhán Molloy, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, chats with writer Issac Quinn, Kieran Griffiths, from The Playhouse and Patricia McBride, from An Grianán Theatre inside The Playhouse's theatre space. In the background are red theatre seats and large windows to the side.
Siobhán Molloy, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, with writer Issac Quinn, Kieran Griffiths, The Playhouse and Patricia McBride, An Grianán Theatre

The Playhouse Music Theatre Company was launched in 2021 and is open to adults aged 18+. Thanks to funding from the National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the Playhouse currently has 13 members enrolled in the three year programme, providing bespoke training in drama and musical theatre, specific to each participant’s needs.

The concept of The Playhouse Music Theatre Company was born out of a desire to create a free and accessible career development pathway for young people in the North West. Set up initially with funding from the Department of Foreign Affairs, the model was developed to help sustain future theatre making in the area and open up opportunities for all, with an emphasis on mentoring, masterclasses, coaching and performance opportunities.

Kieran Griffiths, Director and Producer of The Playhouse, commented: 

“Focusing on the practical experience of performance, members of The Playhouse Music Theatre Company learn how to deliver a show, perform to and for the public, build their CV, grow in confidence and gain practical experience required to make it in the industry.
We’re so proud to offer conservatoire level training and industry standard professional practice to our city’s best and brightest, for free.”

Recently the company took part in a read through of upcoming writer Issac Quinn’s new work ‘A Writing Exorcise’, along with theatre practitioners from The Lyric Theatre, Belfast and An Grianán Theatre, Letterkenny. Members have also had the opportunity to take on key roles in a number of recent key Playhouse productions including The 39 Steps, The White Handkerchief and Hume - Beyond Belief, about the life and mission of John and Pat Hume.

Siobhán Molloy, Arts Development Officer at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented: 

“It was a privilege to recently visit The Playhouse and watch members of the company working alongside representatives from three major theatres, in a session with Issac Quinn.
“This fantastic initiative is really opening up opportunities for people, from all backgrounds, to be able to think seriously about forging a career in the theatre. The highly tailored nature of the approach means they are benefitting from bespoke training and the targeted help they need to take that vital next step in their career development.”

Notes to Editors

About the Arts Council of Northern Ireland

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is the lead funding and development agency for the Arts providing support to arts projects throughout the region, through its Treasury and The National Lottery funds. Our funding enables artists and arts organisations to increase access to the arts across society and deliver great art that is within everyone’s reach.

Every week National Lottery players raise more than £30M for good causes.

More than £47 billion has now been raised by National Lottery players to support good causes since 1994.

More than 670,000 projects have been supported with National Lottery funding, the equivalent of around 240 lottery grants in every UK postcode district.