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Banbridge Ulster-Scots Drama Summer School

Banbridge Ulster-Scots Drama Summer School was held during the week 16 20 August 2010 in Banbridge Orange Hall under the guidance of experienced tutors and Director Philip Crawford from Happenstance Theatre Company.

Twenty-five children aged between 11 and 16 years attended the hall each day for what was a very enjoyable experience for all the children.


This year the drama presentation was 'Captain Crozier 1796-1848'.  This theme is very close to the hearts of the people of Banbridge as Captain Crozier was a famous Ulster-Scots character in the town’s history and during his life he made a major contribution to Arctic and Antarctic exploration.  Information was gleaned from the book by Michael Smith entitled 'Captain Francis Crozier - Last Man Standing'.


The drama school commenced with a reading of extracts from the book and the children were filled with excitement as they learned of the adventurous life of the man whose statue surrounded by polar bears is prominently displayed in the town centre.


The children volunteered or were selected for role plays  – some of the guys vying for the prestigious character of Captain Crozier but all appeared happy with the end result.


Over the next few days lines were learned, costumes designed, props constructed and music and dance with an Ulster-scots flavour were added to the lyrics of the play assisted by Agency Perapetitic Music Tutors Keith Lyttle and Mark Anderson.  Some of our younger children also provided a musical accompaniment on the 'snare drum'. It was clear to see at this stage everyone was having a ball of a time.


As we approached our drama presentation on the Friday evening we were fortunate that descendants of Captain Crozier welcomed the opportunity to attend.  Our special guests, Mr James Crozier and Mr Rawdon Crozier took their seats in the midst of a sizeable audience.


The children were understandably highly excited at such a daunting task ahead of them but their sheer professional attitude instilled by Philip and his staff saw them present a magnificant performance akin to the Lyric or Grand Opera House. What a night for these fledgling young stars and a memorable occasion for everyone involved in the project.  The night ended with the cast meeting the Crozier descendants and supper being served to all in attendance.


Banbridge Orange Hall Committee would like to thank the Ulster-Scots Agency for all their support, Keith Lyttle and Mark Anderson for musical embellishment and the tutors for their dedication and the manner in which they conducted the drama school.


Overall the project was a great success and the children are already looking forward to taking part in their next drama summer school.


By Tony Hillen, Administrator, Banbridge Orange Hall Committee    


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