Third Year Graduates showcase ‘The Little Bird’ by Final Year pupils of the National Folk Theatre (NFT) Training Academy in their end of year graduation show.
This performance showcases what the students have learned over the previous three years at Siamsa Tíre in the disciplines of traditional Irish singing, the Munnix style of traditional Irish step dancing, drama and music. There are sixteen Level 3 Final Year pupils this year, with two focusing on traditional music and the remainder focusing on the other principles of song, dance and drama.
The theme for each final year show is different reflecting the varied and diverse interpretations by the students. When devising this year’s show, the pupils began with the word Folk and discussed what it meant to them. Through this dialogue, the final year pupils worked together to agree a theme and then helped to build a performance around this choosing music, songs and dance to compliment this theme. This year’s show is an adaptation of T Crofton Croker’s Tale, “The Story of the Little Bird”.
The National Folk Theatre Training Academy is aimed at young people from the age of 7 to 12. Auditions take place annually with the 2017/2018 auditions taking place on Friday 16th June from 6-8pm at Teach Siamsa na Carraige, Dingle and on Saturday 17th June from 10am – 2pm at Siamsa Tíre, Tralee. Applicants must have a song and an Irish dance piece prepared for their audition and need to demonstrate some previous interest in Irish music and/or dance, as this training is not for complete beginners. Auditions are by appointment only. Successful candidates take classes weekly in Siamsa Tíre for a period of three years from October to May. A fee per terms applies.
“We are very proud of all of our third year students within the Training Academy and have enjoyed working with them over the last three years. They have shown great commitment to the traditional arts and have been very creative in interpreting what folk means to them in this year’s show. It promises to be a great evening’s entertainment for family, friends and anyone interested in traditional Irish culture!”, said Anne O’Donnell, Training & Development Officer, The National Folk Theatre of Ireland.
The strength of Siamsa Tíre’s performing company lies in the extended Community Cast who have trained and performed with the company over more than forty years. The National Folk Theatre Community Cast of performers complete a minimum of three years of training with the company before going on to an advanced training class as part of their performance preparation. Students who have completed the training offered by Siamsa Tíre have gone on to achieve national and international success as performers, including John Fitzgerald, Suzie Griffin, Sarah Jane Drummey, Justin Walsh and Paula Murrihy.