Local independent MLA, Claire Sugden, previously the Minister for Justice is to become the newest member of Big Telly Theatre Company’s board.
The Portstewart based company, which has charitable status, is one of only two professional producing theatre companies outside Belfast and Londonderry. It is also Northern Ireland’s longest established theatre company, set up by its artistic director, Zoe Seaton in 1987.
Big Telly is known for its ambitious theatre productions which have toured at home and abroad. Including critically acclaimed ‘The Faerie Thorn’ last year and ‘The Little Mermaid’ – an entirely water based show which toured as far as Taiwan in 2006.The company also has a strong commitment to and track record working with and in communities all over Northern Ireland with flagship theatre based projects like ‘Creative Shops’ and ‘Spring Chickens’ – a project working with older people. More recently, the company has tackled issues like drug and alcohol abuse and anti-social driving in schools, in partnership with Police and Community Safety Partnerships.
Ms Sugden said: “I’ve believe arts and culture are an important part of the broad landscape of a healthy society. As well as contributing to the vibrant arts sector we have here in Northern Ireland, Big Telly are delivering important community engagement work that has real impact. I think the creative arts can find innovative ways to listen to and communicate with people, and that’s why I’m delighted to join the Big Telly board and help support such a renowned theatre company in the East Londonderry area.”
Zoe Seaton said: “We’re really happy that Claire agreed to join our board. The MLA’s are still working hard in their communities, so we feel there is a real connection to what we do and our ongoing arts engagement work and Claire is passionate about that.”
Ms Seaton was recently awarded an honorary doctorate by Ulster University for her work as one of Northern Ireland’s most respected theatre directors and for her commitment to dramatic arts.
Under Ms Seaton’s artistic lead, Big Telly has continued to thrive despite challenging times for the arts in NI over recent years. The award from UUC is in recognition of her ambitious professional approach to theatre, and her commitment to engaging young people and new audiences. It will awarded at the University of Ulster ceremony on the 3rd July.