Young talent from East Antrim get chance to star in new musical

The young star of STRIVE, Neve Hutchinson from Carrickfergus with her stage 'family' Adrian Cooke also from Carrick (who plays her dad Brian), Ava Gallagher from Glengormley (little step sister Delilah) and Kelly Brown (her step mum Maggie) who is from Bangor.
The young star of STRIVE, Neve Hutchinson from Carrickfergus with her stage 'family' Adrian Cooke also from Carrick (who plays her dad Brian), Ava Gallagher from Glengormley (little step sister Delilah) and Kelly Brown (her step mum Maggie) who is from Bangor.

Young people from Larne, Carrick and Newtownabbey are preparing to take to the stage from February 18-23 in celebration of the 10th birthday of Theatre at the Mill.

Carrick girl Neve Hutchinson has secured the starring role in STRIVE the musical.

Rebecca Crowe from Ballyclare (Phoebe) in STRIVE

Rebecca Crowe from Ballyclare (Phoebe) in STRIVE

Neve (16), a pupil at Belfast High School, plays troubled teenager Corey, who is trying to cope with the loss of her mum and is loggerheads with step mum Maggie.

Corey’s dad Brian is played by another Carrick resident Adrian Cooke, while step sister Delilah is Ava Gallagher from Glengormley.

Neve has previously been in the Addams Family Musical, playing the role of Wednesday, and in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, where she played the role of witch accuser, Abigail Williams.

The show includes a host of other talented young people from East and South Antrim including Tait Brennan from Larne, who plays Amy, Grace Tweedie from Templepatrick (Lucy); Briana McGruigan from Glengormley (Ellen); Cara McGrath from Jordanstown (Becky); Susie Kerr from Glengormley (Charlotte); Molly McToal from Larne (Eva); Rebecca Crowe from Ballyclare (Phoebe); and Tierney McFerran from Larne (Jimmy)

Molly McToal from Larne  who plays Eva

Molly McToal from Larne who plays Eva

Three of the leading lights of Northern Ireland musical theatre have united to give up-and-coming talent a chance to star in the newly commissioned show - Mark Dougherty, Pamela Cassells-Totton and Michael Poynor.

The cast includes 17 young people aged seven to 18-years and six adult performers in an original musical penned by Pamela Cassells-Totton, directed by Michael Poynor with a musical score from Mark Dougherty.

Mark, the former musical director of Riverdance, describes STRIVE as ‘FAME meets Hollyoaks meets Grease’.

The new show is the latest original production commissioned by Theatre at the Mill, which over the past 10 years has delivered a host of top-class youth shows under its Homespun programme, offering young people the opportunity to work with distinguished professional directors, musical directors and choreographers.

Grace Tweedie from Templepatrick who plays Lucy in STRIVE

Grace Tweedie from Templepatrick who plays Lucy in STRIVE

Theatre manager Bernard Clarkson said the decision to commission a piece from some of Northern Ireland’s top musical theatre talent showed how supportive Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council is in promoting the Arts. He said: The council has always been a proud advocate of the Arts and this is a great example of how it is continuing to give opportunities to young people while commissioning new work that gives our local talent the space to create original productions.”

To find out more, visit www.theatreatthemill.com

Tait Brennan from Larne, who plays Amy

Tait Brennan from Larne, who plays Amy

Tierney McFerran from Larne (Jimmy) in STRIVE

Tierney McFerran from Larne (Jimmy) in STRIVE

Susie Kerr from Glengormley  who plays Charlotte

Susie Kerr from Glengormley who plays Charlotte

Cara McGrath from Jordanstown (Becky) in STRIVE

Cara McGrath from Jordanstown (Becky) in STRIVE

Briana McGruigan from Glengormley (Ellen) in STRIVE

Briana McGruigan from Glengormley (Ellen) in STRIVE