Along with Cllr Richard Smart, I am pleased to be a Champion of the Cross Community Intercultural Theatre project. This programme is aimed at building a greater awareness of cultural diversity, understanding and cohesion between communities.
The programme which will be delivered by Terra Nova Productions, Northern Ireland’s only professional intercultural theatre company to stage a never-before-seen production of Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream,’ in May 2019.
The ambitious production, a project supported by the European Union’s PEACE Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body, will feature 500 opportunities for local people to join professional artists, from across the globe, to produce and perform in a secret location in Ards.
Starting in April 2018 and spanning 17 months, the project will offer free taster sessions and workshops in multiple locations to many communities; will provide indigenous and new Northern Ireland citizens with an opportunity to share and showcase their cultural traditions; and will develop community teams of singers, dancers, costume-makers, set-builders and actors from across the borough. There will be free weekend masterclasses for people to learn new skills as well as opportunities to join the volunteer team from March 2019.
The community engagement programmes and tasters sessions will culminate in 10 weeks of rehearsal in Spring 2019. Anyone with an interest in song, dance, acting, set, lighting or costume, should watch out for auditions in December 2018.
The production will coincide with the celebration of Shakespeare’s 455th birthday and will feature a secret location transformed into an intercultural reinterpretation of ‘Shakespeare’s Globe,’ complete with standing room for groundlings, seats for aristocrats, food, drink and multiple showings of an innovative version of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream,’ including an estimated 150 Ards and North Down citizens supported by a high-powered international team of 30 professionals.
Speaking at the launch, Chair of the Ards and North Down Borough Council PEACE IV Partnership, Alderman Angus Carson welcomed the commencement of the project and said; “We are delighted that Terra Nova are going to be delivering a Cross Community Intercultural Theatre project in 8 areas where the visible manifestations of the conflict are most pronounced enabling different cultures and classes to interact through the mediums of music, dance and theatre.”
Follow the project on social media #ANDdream, twitter @TerraNovaDrama, www.facebook.com/terranovaproductions, Instagram @TerraNovaDrama and for details of how to get involved in the project visit www.terranovaproductions.net/dream
- The Special EU Programmes Body is a North/South Implementation Body sponsored by the The Department of Finance in Northern Ireland and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in Ireland. It is responsible for managing two EU Structural Funds Programmes – PEACE IV and INTERREG VA – which are designed to enhance cross-border co-operation, promote reconciliation and create a more peaceful and prosperous society. The Programmes operate within a clearly defined area including Northern Ireland, the Border Region of Ireland and in the case of INTERREG VA, Western Scotland.
- The PEACE IV Programme has a European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) contribution of €229 million and is aimed primarily at reinforcing progress towards a peaceful and stable society and promoting reconciliation.
- For more information on the SEUPB please visit seupb.eu