New Horizons Downpatrick clients tread the boards in ‘Fighting Back’

The stars of the show left to right Robert Watson, Margaret Brown, Patricia Hickland, Ashley Walker and James Murphy.

As part of a CCEA Performance Skills qualification, service users from Downpatrick New Horizons created their own theatre company, ‘Masquerade Theatre Company’ and staged a performance of a play, ‘Fighting Back’ last December, before an enthusiastic audience. The show confronted issues around prejudice and discrimination and included a physical theatre piece which explored mental health through expressionist movement. The cast of five agreed their journey through theatre was both empowering and rewarding. They said:
“I felt so proud that I was able to stand up and act out in front of an audience. The buzz I felt was incredible…I could do it over and over again,” said Patricia Hickland.
“I really enjoyed performing in front of my family members and I felt so proud of myself. I feel I have overcome a lot of barriers like social anxieties and lacking confidence,” said Robert Watson.
James Murphy concurred: “I have found the programme really enjoyable and it has given a boost to my mental well-being.”
Margaret Brown said: “The sense of achievement I feel is amazing. I have overcome fears and anxieties by moving out of my comfort zone. Being part of our drama group was one of the best experiences of my life. I would definitely consider further study of drama.”
“I have thoroughly enjoyed the performance aspect of this course and it has ignited within me a passion for acting. I would definitely consider further study of theatre in an FE setting or university,” said Ashley Walker,

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