Local youth theatre group, The Drama Company, is gearing up for its Christmas production, bringing together a cast of 31 children aged between 5 and 15. Led by Sarah O’Neill, who has over 30 years of teaching experience, the group aims to revive face-to-face interaction among young people, especially in a digital age.
Operating for over 12 years, The Drama Company holds its weekly sessions at The Larruperz Centre. The group has nurtured hundreds of young talents, some of whom have even become professional actors. Sarah O’Neill emphasised the importance of in-person activities for children. She stated, “it is so important that our young people of mixed ages are engaged in face-to-face activities regularly and working towards a common goal where they can find enjoyment and companionship.”
For the current term, all age groups have been combined to work on their festive piece, “There’s Snow Place Like Home”. Julie Church, who has been writing scripts for the group for the past six years, crafted this year’s play. She has worked alongside Sarah for ten years.
The Drama Company prides itself on its “family feel”, focusing on building confidence and individuality among its young performers. According to Sarah, this approach has helped many of their students reach their potential. The group is still recovering from the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, where face-to-face interaction became a challenge. Sarah underscored the need to focus on in-person activities, saying, “we are living in a digital age where young people are almost shying away from face-to-face experiences, in favour of screen media, and it is imperative that activities are made available to encourage our young people to engage in social activities in person and gain the benefits from these opportunities.”