Student performers take centre stage

Future stars of stage and screen gathered gongs and shared the red carpet with celebrities at a student theatre event in Dublin.

Winners Darragh Mallone, best male lead as Fagin in 'Oliver', which also won best musical at primary level for St Mochta's NS Clonsilla.

The 63 schools nominated for a range of categories at the Bord Gáis Energy Student Theatre Awards had already wowed judges with their performances in productions ranging from old favourite musicals to original works written by their teachers.

But yesterday they got to mingle with the celebs, as well as groups and individuals from more than 20 schools taking to the stage to pick up awards.

The best overall primary school play was awarded to Gaelscoil Ultain in Monaghan town for their show Na Saighdiúrí, with the corresponding second-level award going to The Children of the Rising produced by Belvedere College in Dublin 1.

A production of Oliver! by St Mochta’s National School in Clonsilla, Dublin 15 was best overall school musical at primary level, and Darragh Malone’s portrayal of Fagin earned him be best lead male performance.

The second-level best overall musical awarded to Billy Elliot, as staged by Presentation Secondary School, Thurles, Co Tipperary. A second prize went to the same school, when Zoe Gleeson won the award for best performance in a supporting role.

Front Leah O’Sullivan and Hannah Nolan with back from left, Aoife Lehane, Bronagh Cullimore, Maedhbh De Burca, Lena Sharkey, Alannah O’Connell and Aoife Ahern, of Scoil Chlochair Mhuire, Carrigtwohill, Co Cork, celebrating their Best Performance in a Supporting Role as an ensemble for ‘The Fianna Factor’, at the Bord Gáis Energy Student Theatre Awards held in the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin, yesterday. The play was written by school teachers Laura Mitchell and Bríd Fahey.

The show at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre in Dublin was presented by RTÉ 2FM presenter Eoghan McDermott, who kept the audience at two awards shows — one each for primary and second-level — entertained for the day. Those attending the event were also treated to a special surprise when Cavan rock band The Strypes performed.

For the girls of Scoil Chlochair Mhuire in Carrigtwohill, Co Cork, there was a novel honour as the eight-strong cast of the original play Fianna Factor picked up the award for best performance in a supporting role, as an ensemble.

“The girls are absolutely thrilled, they felt like VIPs all day, from the moment they arrived on the red carpet,” said teacher Laura Mitchell, who co-wrote the play with her colleague Bríd Fahey.

The judges for the event included actor and author Amy Huberman, Dancing with the Stars runner-up Aobhín Garrihy, novelist Sinéad Moriarty, and writer and storyteller Dave Rudden.

They had to select winners in an additional category this year, with the best original production for primary named as Michael D and the Tayto Factory staged by St Laurence’s National School, Athy, Co Kildare. Beart an Bhainc at CBS Ennistymon, Co Clare was the best original production from among this year’s second-level entries.

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