“Better Outcomes Brighter Futures” recognises that learning goes far beyond formal schooling to embrace the broad range of life experiences and learning processes that enable children and young people, individually and collectively, to develop their personalities, talents and abilities,
and to live a full and satisfying life within society.”
The Summer Musical Project was devised as a pilot project to engage young people from Clondalkin and Lucan schools operating a DEIS programme throughout the summer months in a structured group project. Young people aged 14-18 from these areas were invited to engage in rehearsing and staging a musical over 12 weeks from June to September 2017. This project would culminate in a performance on a local stage attended by family and local community members.
The summer months can represent a vacuum for young people who cannot afford to engage with summer developmental activities or who live in an area where the facilities do not exist in their local catchment area. Tallaght is well serviced in terms of summer sports and arts based programmes, however there are no projects offered locally in Clondalkin and Lucan which offer free or low cost opportunities for teenagers to engage in comprehensive arts based developmental programmes. “The arts provide young people with an opportunity to channel their creativity and engage regardless of intellectual, physical and emotional competencies (Delgado, 2017). Musical Theatre programmes are one of the few activities which incorporate all aspects of the performing and creative arts, from acting singing and dancing to crafts, carpentry, painting, make up artistry and fashion design.
Crosscare Youth Service agreed to partner with South Dublin County Partnership to pilot the project. They offered a rehearsal venue and staff support to supervise rehearsals and support the end of project show.
Promotion and Recruitment:
The following activities were carried out to engage young people in the project:
- Engagement with the local Youth Service
- Design and distribution of over 500 flyers
- Direct promotion to Music teachers in DEIS schools in Clondalkin and Lucan
- On-site auditions held in Collinstown Park Community College, St. Kevin’s Community College, Deansrath Community College and Adamstown Community College.
- Promotion of the Musical to all local communities through on and offline media, posters, local newspapers, newsletters and all available media.
Rehearsals for the Summer Musical Project were held on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10:00am to 1:00pm with some additional rehearsals held on Saturdays closer to the time.
(Approx 100 hours total including the show)
Stagecraft Musical Group meets Saturdays from 10:00am to 1:00pm throughout the academic year and reverts to Mondays and Wednesdays during the summer months. During 2017 this lasted from December to June with breaks for Bank Holiday weekends. (Approx. 80 hours)
Forty-five young people from nine schools completed the full project engaging in over 100 hours of dancing, singing, acting and design. Another nine young people focussed on set design/building, costume design and make up artistry. While the focus was on skills development, young people reported increased confidence and resilience and all built positive peer relationships with young people outside of their immediate community. The project culminated in two evening shows which engaged over 400 community members from across the community to recognise and celebrate the young people in the area.
The success of the initial project led to the establishment of Stagecraft Musical Group which aims to offer young people aged 14-18 in South Dublin free, high-quality training in singing, dancing and acting. The group is made up of performers from the original summer project and newly recruited members from the local area. They meet weekly throughout the school year on Saturdays to continue their training and development. The group held an end of year show in Tallaght Civic Theatre in June 2018 and showcased a second summer musical project in September 2018.
Going forward it is hoped to open the group out to more young people in South Dublin and to focus on training and skills development. Participants will be offered the opportunity to engage in more structured training and engage in examinations to show progression in their chosen skill. During the summer months participants will subsequently engage in rehearsing and staging a specific musical.
There are wide-ranging opportunities to engage more young people and community members in the set design and building, as well as costume making and prop making.