07 Aug 2022

Ardnashee's got talent! Talented youngsters take to the stage for spectacular Christmas show!

(Photo - Tom Heaney, nwpresspics)
A Derry school for children with special needs is staging a hugely ambitious original show this Christmas that would not look out of place on the West End stage. Rehearsals are well under way for the all singing, all dancing ‘A Very Musical Nativity!’, which features professional sound, lighting and choreography. The show centres around Noel, played by Year 15 pupil Noel Mulgrew, who is a typical teenager. His dream is to perform on a professional stage, but his mother has other ideas. Sinead Crossan, Senior teacher and writer and producer of the show, said performing arts are an integral part of the school. “We like to challenge the perception of what children with a disability can do,” she explained. “Every child has the right to access the arts. “Some of our pupils have very limited communication, but there is a magic that happens with dance and music and drama that allows them to communicate through the arts.” Some of the children who would struggle with appearing on stage will feature in a series of video sequences and there are also Makaton signing sequences for children with speech and language difficulties. Ardnashee school’s award winning choir, led by Bríd Cutliffe,  are central to the action of the play which follows Noel’s quest to land a starring role in a nativity. And there are also some memorable guest appearance from members of staff. “All the staff have got on board and it allows the children to see them in a different light and discover an extra dimension to them,” continued Mrs Crossan. “Every child has the right to dream and at Ardnashee School and College we aim to provide the very best teaching and learning to encourage our pupils to be the best they can be. “The story of our musical captures the theme of dreams in a fun, light-hearted way.” A production of this size is very expensive to stage and it is thanks to the tireless fundraising of the Ardnashee PTA that is has been made possible. “I am forever grateful for the work of all the staff behind the scenes and for those who appear in the show,” added Mrs Crossan. “Without the Ardnashee School and College PTA the show would not be possible and I need to personally thank Mrs Clare McDaid and Miss Jane Boyd for leading and coordinating the fund raising events for the show and Emma Lindsay for her fantastic choreography. Vice Principal Donna Cartin said the show promises to be fantastic. “We are all looking forward to the show this Christmas. “The students and staff have put so much hard work into it and we are so proud of them and we know the show will be a huge success.”    

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