Belfast Drama Project Creates Youth Advocates For The Environment

Young People Speak Out

Pupils from two Belfast schools have created and performed a series of drama productions to raise awareness of environmental threats to the Belfast Hills.
Supported by The Belfast Hills Partnership and Belfast Harbour, pupils from Dominican College and Hazelwood Integrated College have taken part in a creative drama project to explore their ‘sense of place’ in the local landscape.

Under the direction of local playwright Clare McMahon, the Year 9 and 11 pupils looked at the causes and consequences of hard hitting issues such as wildlife crime, wildfires and climate change. The result, ‘Our Hills Your Future’, a series of short, compelling drama productions, can be viewed on the Belfast Hills Partnership Facebook page and website

Jo Boylan, Youth Outreach Officer, for the Hills said:

“Engaging and exciting young people about the environment can be a challenge. Creative approaches like drama can deepen the emotional connections between people and places. We wanted to explore sustainable development and what it means to young people living in Belfast today. The project really succeeded in inspiring debate and critical thinking about a sustainable, green shared future for Belfast.”

Deirdre Clarke, head of drama at Dominican College, added: 

“My pupils gained a great sense of achievement.  Not only did they gain new knowledge and understanding, but they felt empowered to make practical changes to their everyday lives to support the environment. They are passionate about sharing this knowledge and want to continue performing their productions to a wider audience.” 

The Belfast Hills Bright Future project is one of 31 ‘Our Bright Future’ projects across the UK. Each one is equipping 11-24 year olds to make a difference in their local community and for the environment. ‘Our Bright Future’ is a £33 million programme funded by the National Lottery Community Fund. This project champions the need for government, employers, businesses, schools and charities to pay more attention to the needs of young people and the environment. 

Jenni Barkley from Belfast Harbour said: 

“Our young people are passionate about safeguarding their environment and Belfast Harbour is pleased to support projects that creatively harness those concerns.  It was a great experience for the pupils to perform their new theatre pieces in front of their peers and help raise awareness about local environmental issues.”