Newry teenagers raise thousands to stage their own musical | Latest Newry News, Newry Sport and Newry Business for Newry City

Newry teenagers raise thousands to stage their own musical

An ambitious group of teenagers from Newry are staging their own do-it-yourself musical after raising thousands of pounds by busking and by playing at weddings and birthday parties.

lostticket1In a climate of cutbacks in arts budgets, the self-financed production of the cult show The Last Five Years will open later this month without the aid of any grants or sponsorship.

“We just decided to go it alone” said Brendan O’Farrell who’s playing one of the main roles in the musical which was written by American Jason Robert Brown and which was turned into a movie last year.

Brendan, 17, added, “The idea to put on a musical has been in the back of my mind for quite a while but I didn’t think too seriously about it until I saw The Last Five Years. It’s a fantastic show but I knew no local drama groups around Newry and Mourne would ever put it on because the cast is too small.

“So I called people I knew who would be able to make the show work including my co-directors Cormac Rea and Daisy Eccles and our musical director Jonny Reynolds.

“We found Caoimhlin Fegan to play the female lead role and were lucky to get Lilah Eccles – who has earned scholarships for prestige dance schools in London – as our choreographer.”

lostticket2The ages of the entire group range from just 15 to 18 and they’ve sought the advice of a number of theatre veterans from Newry including musician Donal O’Hanlon from the award-winning Newpoint Players on how to stage a show.

And that assistance has proved invaluable. For the hunt for the actors and the backstage team proved to be only half the battle. Next came the acquisition of the licensing rights for the show which was where the bulk of the youngsters’ money is going.

Brendan – who will play the title role in a school production of the Buddy Holly Story in October – and his friend Jonny Reynolds have raised most of the cash needed for The Last Five Years by busking in Belfast and Newry and by playing at weddings and birthday parties.

The next hurdle to overcome was finding the space to stage the production and the teenagers eventually hired the hall of the Abbey Christian Brothers’ Grammar School in Newry, which many of them attend.

They then recruited a band along with background actors and the cast and musicians have been rehearsing three times a week in Brendan’s Rostrevor home.

The youngsters have turned to social media in a bid to ‘sell’ hundreds of tickets for the show in a bid to break even on the costs of the production, which is running from Wednesday August 19th to Friday August 21st.

The musical tells the story of a couple’s relationship over the last five years from two different perspectives – the man’s from the beginning to the end and the woman’s from the end to the beginning.

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Posted by on Aug 6 2015. Filed under Community, News, What's On. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

4 Comments for “Newry teenagers raise thousands to stage their own musical”

  1. John Mc Cabe

    Great to see the youth of Newry empowering themselves and raising funds to follow their own musical dreams. A great news story, good on you’s, break a leg!

  2. John Cahir

    Link for tickets please?:)

  3. Sean Murphy

    What a fantastic story! Producing a show like this is not an easy task – and what an ambitious first production. It is truly an amazing show. I am sure you will create a work that will make Newry so proud. I would love to be there to congratulate each one of you. Newry’s history of artists, actors and dancers is still alive. This story has made me very happy.

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