£5 to help inner city kids’ drama

Stuart Murray
Stuart Murray

A COLERAINE man is asking people from the Borough to pledge just £5 to help stage a ground-breaking new children’s musical for inner city children in London.

Musical Theatre graduate Stuart Murray (RIGHT) is working on an exciting new project called “Ella and the Dragophant” as part of his final MA degree.

The former Dalriada student told the Times: “After producing and stage-managing a successful short musical in February, my senior lecturer recommended me, out of the whole year, to work with a professional writer/composer team to produce Ella and the Dragophant.

“The role of the producer is to be the overall organiser of the entire production, from organising the budget, fundraising, liaising with the director/writers/actors, setting up auditions, booking rehearsal spaces and dealing with the theatre.

“To understand the story from a young person’s perspective and to encourage an appreciation of the arts amongst young people, we are organising a series of drama and musical workshops working with children from a primary school in Lewisham, one of the most deprived areas of inner city London.

“This will help the children learn how they would deal with the various situations Ella faces and by learning from them, let them put their mark on the specially written piece. The outcome will then be performed by professional actors at an invitation only event in London on 12 July.

“The invited guests will consist of theatre managers/owners, professional producers and other industry professionals in the hope that the project will be taken on my one of them and, hopefully, even be toured throughout the UK.”

The story tells of eight-year-old Ella who lives with her mother. She rarely sees her father and is teased by some other children so she sings to cheer herself up and becomes magically transported to the land of Transmagia where she meets a shy creature called a Dragophant.

But of course, work-shopping and staging such an event, is a costly affair for the graduate from Goldsmiths College, University of London.

“We have been working hard on trying to raise the money, including numerous failed applications to the Arts Council, local council, other bodies which support the arts, local businesses and personal giving,” explained Stuart who is a former member of Portrush Music Society.

“We are using a fundraising website Sponsume to try and raise some of the money, but we really need people to share it among their friends and anyone who is interested in children’s theatre or theatre in general.

“We are not looking for people merely to donate and get nothing in return, there are some exciting incentives for those who help us out.

“We only need another 128 people to give us just £5 and we can reach the target that we set for the Sponsume page and so it would be great anyone could help us.”

To check out this fantastic project, check Sponsume page: www.sponsume.com/project/ella-and-dragophant or website www.wix.com/ellaandthe/dragophant