Drama teachers from across Northern Ireland have had the chance to work with the Casting Director of ITV’s hit talent show ‘The Voice’ at a special event at Belfast’s Lyric Theatre.
Donna Soto-Morettini has worked on a wide range of TV programmes including ‘Superstar’ and ‘Over the Rainbow’, both with Andrew Lloyd Webber. She was in Belfast for the launch of a new initiative, supported by Belfast Harbour, to strengthen the Lyric Theatre’s links with schools.
Over 200 schools were invited to the event, which also included a Q&A session with Dr Soto-Morettini to highlight career opportunities for young people in theatre.
Jenni Barkley, Communications and Corporate Responsibility Manager at Belfast Harbour, said:
“Drama is more than a school play. Communication, public speaking, use of language and confidence-building are all vital skills that are necessary in career development.
“Belfast Harbour is proud to back an initiative that supports teachers and pupils in the classroom which will enhance career opportunities in the future.”
Schools selected for the new Affiliation Scheme will benefit from tailored workshops of their choice, including drama workshops, skills development and acting techniques. The scheme also includes complimentary tickets to the Lyric, free back stage tours and careers advice for pupils.
In addition to being a Casting Director with the BBC and ITV, Donna Soto-Morettini is a Senior Lecturer at Edinburgh Napier University and has published numerous books and journals. She said:
"Understanding the importance of the arts as part of a happy, fulfilled and well-rounded education isn’t difficult, but funding and support for the arts is always a struggle.
I’m extremely happy to play whatever part I can in supporting drama training in Northern Ireland and it’s an honour for me to be part of this initiative. I hope I can continue to be involved with the schools affiliation scheme, which will not only contribute to the wider drama training sector in Northern Ireland, but will also be part of building theatre artists and audiences for future generations."
Erin Hoey, Schools’ Coordinator at the Lyric Theatre added:
“Our Creative Learning department offers an exciting range of educational resources for teachers and students and our new Affiliation Scheme will make that even more accessible to a select number of schools, allowing them to explore opportunities in theatre with first-hand advice from industry experts.”
“We are delighted to have Donna Soto-Morettini with us at the launch. Her wealth of experience is exceptional and it is hugely exciting for schools to be able to share in that and benefit from it.”