Michelle from 'Derry Girls' is first Youth Patron at Millennium Forum

Sun, 14/03/2021 - 17:13 -- Editor

The Millennium Forum today announced a new initiative focused on its youth musical and youth festival projects with its first appointment of a new Youth Patron. 

The role has been enthusiastically embraced by Jamie Lee O’Donnell, star of internationally acclaimed Comedy Drama, “Derry Girls”.

Jamie Lee said: “I am delighted to have been asked to be Youth Patron for the Millennium Forum, Derry, which does such amazing work on its Youth Musical and Youth Festivals each year in my home town. The Millennium Forum was inspirational to me in the fledgling part of my career as an actor and I am very much looking forward to working with all the young people who come through its doors. I want to congratulate them on the stellar work they are currently doing on the InterAct online festival.  I can’t wait to catch up with them all soon on the Masterclass Sessions and, indeed, on all up-and-coming youth events at the Millennium Forum.”

David McLaughlin, Millennium Forum Chief Executive, said: “It is fitting to announce Jamie Lee O’Donnell, an internationally successful young actress, as our Youth Patron as she has worked with us over the years on a number of productions, most recently in 2018 on our acclaimed production of Lisa McGee’s “Girls and Dolls”.  At the Forum there has always been a key focus on providing accessible training and events for our young people and we have run many hugely successful initiatives in this regard.  The challenge, in this time of pandemic, has been how to reach this group in society which is growing increasingly marginalised at this time.  Running the Interact Youth Arts Festival online  has allowed us the scope to widen access to this hugely popular festival both in terms of reach – we are attracting young people from a much wider catchment area - and in terms of longevity – we are able to run the event over four weeks instead of over four days. The success of the event to date also serves to underpin our ethos as a ‘teaching theatre’ and we look forward to many such events in the future.”

The Millennium Forum’s InterAct festival, which is currently running, has been oversubscribed in this year; the first year that it has been an online event.  This year it has attracted participants from further afield in Northern Ireland, such as Fermanagh and Coleraine, as well as having attracted interest nationally.  

Supported by the Arts Council of NI, the popular Youth Arts Festival offers participants aged between 11 and 21 the opportunity to work with a number of highly respected experts in musical theatre, stand-up comedy, dance and voice.  Festival participants take part in a number of exciting, engaging and motivational workshops that have been designed to not only showcase the artistic talents of the young people but also to promote mental health and wellbeing during these very challenging times.  

Mags Anderson, InterAct Co-ordinator and Education Officer at the Millennium Forum said:

‘I am delighted to be running the InterAct online festival this year as, more than ever, young people have missed our theatre and Arts training so much. InterAct has filled that gap and has reignited their passion and excitement for performing and design. We are also excited for the Q&A sessions as these will give the young people an opportunity to ask direct questions to some top professionals in five areas of the Arts.”

The InterAct festival is now completely booked but the Masterclass Q&A “Behind the Scenes and the Actor” sessions are open to the public. The sessions consist of professionals hosting online Q&A sessions with participants where they offer an insight into their profession and tips and guidance in the Arts in these following areas:

* Auditions for TV & Stage – Jamie Lee O’Donnell

* Directing- Jonathan Burgess

* Stage Management – Codie Morrison

* Set & Costume Designer – Morgan Large

* Musical Director – Peter Vail.

Interested parties can contact Mags Anderson on magsc@millenniumforum.co.uk