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,